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Indonesia: Aid for victims of inter-ethnic violence in Borneo

01-03-2001 News Release 01/08

With ICRC support, the Indonesian Red Cross Society is assisting displaced people who have been fleeing violence between indigenous Dayaks and Madurese settlers in Central Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo. The local authorities estimate that some 22,000 persons have so far returned to their native Madura.

Kits containing the basic items such as sleeping mats, cooking utensils and buckets are being distributed to evacuated families during transit in the port of Surabaya or later in the temporary shelter set up by the authorities in Bangkalan, on Madura, where the evacuees remain until transport is available to take them to relatives living in other places on the island.

In the meantime, relief is reaching Sampit, a river port in Central Kalimantan, where tens of thousand persons are camped around the town hall waiting to be evacuated. Three truckloads of food and medical and sanitary supplies was delivered by the Indonesian Red Cross on 27 February to its local branch in Sampit. Subsequently, volunteers from the Society set up a dispensary to treat the ill.

ICRC delegates in Sampit report that access to clean water is the most urgent requirement if an outbreak of water-born diseases is to be avoided while evacuations from the town are under way. Water tanks, purification tablets and similar items will be supplied as soon as possible from ICRC stocks in Surabaya.

According to various reports from media and the authorities, the escalating violence in Central Kalimantan has so far claimed 400 lives.