Sunday, April 24, 2005

Tsunami Victims with Amputations

The NYT has this interesting and sad article on that topic today. A taste:

Of the survivors of the tsunami in Indonesia, amputees face singular hardships. Unlike many developing countries, Indonesia has few facilities that produce artificial limbs. Those it has make old-fashioned expensive prostheses that do not meet international standards, foreign specialists who have tried to help the tsunami amputees said.

"Everything related to disability in the country is behind," said Thierry Agagliate, the director of Handicap International, a group that has worked in Aceh since the tsunami. "This must be the only major country without these facilities."

Only one person in Aceh Province knew how to make and fit artificial limbs, and he was killed in the tsunami, Mr. Agagliate said. The main factory for prostheses in Indonesia, in Solo, also known as Surakarta, on the island of Java, made limbs from wood and other heavy materials.

Handicap International shelved a plan to open a workshop in Aceh to produce limbs because Indonesia's government did not give its approval, Mr. Agagliate said. "They want to handle this themselves," he said.

For similar reasons, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the leading maker of artificial limbs in more than a dozen developing countries, will not pursue its plans for making limbs in Aceh, a spokesman said.


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