Indonesia’s quake-hit Lombok battles with malaria, 137 infected

A man jumps over a crack in the ground in Mataram on Indonesia's Lombok island on August 20, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 September 2018
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Indonesia’s quake-hit Lombok battles with malaria, 137 infected

  • The quakes and aftershocks since July have killed about 500 people and forced hundreds of thousands into evacuation shelters or tents
  • Among the 137 infected are babies and pregnant women

MATARAM, Indonesia: A malaria outbreak has infected at least 137 people in Indonesia’s West Lombok after the island was rocked by a series of earthquakes in recent months, an official said Sunday.
The quakes and aftershocks since July have killed about 500 people and forced hundreds of thousands into evacuation shelters or tents.
As a result the number of malaria cases is twice as high as in the same period last year, prompting the West Lombok government to declare a health emergency.
Among the 137 infected are babies and pregnant women.
The government has taken steps to prevent the disease from spreading such as taking blood samples, distributing mosquito nets and fogging.
Amaq Aniyah, 65, was diagnosed with malaria after feeling unwell for a week.
His house was destroyed by a 6.9 magnitude quake in early August and since then he has been living in a tent. Paramedics have given him a mosquito net.
“Ideally we should give mosquito nets to everyone but because we only have a few, we have to be selective,” said paramedic Farlin, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
The head of West Lombok regency, Fauzan Halid, told AFP they only have 3,000 mosquito nets but need about 10,000.
Declaration of a health emergency will allow West Lombok to seek 3.4 billion rupiah ($230,000) in aid from the provincial and central government to tackle the crisis.
Indonesia’s rainy season is expected to start next month, raising fears malaria-carrying mosquitos could breed in stagnant water.


Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

In this file photo taken on August 5, 2016, Andy Chan (R), leader of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), gives a press conference at the start of a rally near the government's headquarters in Hong Kong. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

  • The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover

HONG KONG: Authorities in Hong Kong on Monday took an unprecedented step against separatist voices by banning a political party that advocates independence for the southern Chinese territory on national security grounds.
John Lee, the territory’s secretary for security, announced that the Hong Kong National Party will be prohibited from operation from Monday.
Lee’s announcement did not provide further details. But Hong Kong’s security bureau had previously said in a letter to the National Party’s leader, 27-year-old Andy Chan, that the party should be dissolved “in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” Chan had no immediate comment.
That letter had cited a national security law that has not been invoked since 1997. The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover. Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials have warned separatist activity would not be tolerated.
Chan, the National Party leader, had previously told The Associated Press that police approached him with documents detailing his speeches and activities since the party’s formation in 2016.
The party was founded in response to frustration about Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong. Despite a promise of autonomy, activists complain mainland influence over its democratic elections is increasing.
Chan and other pro-independence candidates were disqualified from 2016 elections to the Hong Kong legislature after they refused to sign a pledge saying Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. The Hong Kong National Party has never held any seats on the council.