JAKARTA – The municipal government of West Lombok has declared a health emergency due to the rise in malaria cases on the island, which was struck by a series of earthquakes between July 29-Aug. 19 that claimed over 550 lives, the Red Cross said on Friday.
The spokesperson of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Lombok, Sydney Morton, told EFE the organization is distributing mosquito nets and mats in the affected areas.
Morton added that they were also working to distribute clean water as during the earthquakes many pipes were damaged, over which she said there are huge concerns and risks.
The head of the district of West Lombok, Fauzan Khalid, approved the measure on Tuesday after the number of infection cases surpassed 100 and extended from the sub-district of Gunung Sari, where the outbreak was recorded, to Batu Layar and Lingsar.
The number of malaria cases reached 128 on Thursday, including a pregnant woman and several children, but there have been no deaths, according to the head of the West Lombok health agency, Rahman Sahnan Putra.
The malaria outbreak comes at a time when Lombok is trying to recover from a series of earthquakes and aftershocks, which hit the island over July-August and left over 550 dead.
At least 460 people were killed in the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck on Aug. 5, which has been followed by more than 1,000 aftershocks that are ongoing.
About 450,000 people are living in camps for displaced persons or out in the open on the island, said Oxfam, and over 80,000 buildings were damaged.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity, where some 7,000 earthquakes, mostly moderate, are recorded each year.