The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
In anticipation of an outbreak of flood-related disease in Jakarta, the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) is working to attract new volunteers to join its team.
IDI chairman Fahmi Idris said Thursday volunteers would be deployed to offer medical treatment to flood victims across the city if such a tragedy was to strike again.
He said if areas of the city were badly flooded, the association would establish a number of health posts headed by medical professionals.
Common flood-related diseases to have hit the city in recent years are tetanus, leptospirosis, diarrhea, dengue fever and dermatitis.
People suffering from severe forms of these conditions require medical treatment.
The team of volunteers is part of the IDI's Disaster Mitigation Committee, which was established at the end of 2006 to help people directly affected by disasters.
When floods inundated the city in February this year, the committee set up 10 posts across the city, which were manned by a team of 30 doctors working in shifts.
Fahmi said the association's focus would remain on providing patients with medical treatment. However, she said it would also provide food, medicine and clothing to members of the community if a disaster struck.
The IDI will also work to provide clean water to flood victims through its partnership with the Bandung Institute of Technology's Indonesian Research Affiliation Institute and the Public Works Ministry.
"We realized after last February's floods that clean water was very crucial to flood victims but was very hard to find," said Fahmi.
The association's Disaster Mitigation Committee is also currently mapping out areas vulnerable to floods, enhancing partnerships with other institutions and organizations, expanding its networks and conducting familiarization activities about its programs.
Fahmi said the association's 363 branch offices throughout the country had started recruiting volunteers. It was hoped some 3,000 people would be recruited, with both medical and non-medical backgrounds, he said.
The volunteers would receive training and be sent to any area of the country hit by a disaster in the future, he said.
"We'll organize a training camp for these volunteers in Bontang (East Kalimantan) in December. We'll teach them how to work in disaster situations so they will be ready to help people when they are needed," Fahmi said.(wda)