The Indonesian emergency team of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has been offering medical consultations to people affected by the severe floods in and around Jakarta, Indonesia. They have focused on sending mobile clinics to outlying parts of the city that were largely cut off by the flood waters.
The city was struck in early February with floods reported as the worst in recent memory and fresh rains are triggering more floods. At their peak, the floods waters inundated half of Jakarta with 12 feet of water. Estimates are that 450,000 people were made homeless.
"Our biggest problem has been transporting staff and supplies through the city," says MSF's Head of Mission, Wim Fransen. "Jakarta's traffic arteries are normally already clogged, but with so many roads flooded everything came to a complete standstill. At times we had to divide the bulk of our aid supplies into many very small bits in order to get them through in mini-vans, which seriously slowed down the delivery to the people waiting for assistance."
In total, over the past days, the MSF teams have provided around 800 consultations. The main health problems were upper respiratory tract infections, a very common issue among people who are displaced after a natural disaster, skin infections and diarrhoea. The teams have also distributed 2,554 hygiene kits and blankets and a similar volume of plastic sheeting to help people construct temporary shelter.
"The waters are receding and people start returning home," says Fransen. "Hopefully from here on the situation will improve. But we keep a close eye on things and remain ready to start new activities whenever needed."