Saturday, August 28, 2004

Gunungkidul residents 'itching' for rain as lake is only source of water

Source: The Jakarta Post

Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post/Gunungkidul

Hundreds of residents of Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta province, are suffering from skin diseases thought to have been brought on by the dry season.
The dry season, which began in the regency several months ago, has caused severe water shortages, especially in Panggang and Purwosari districts, leading to an outbreak of skin diseases in the regency.

Darji Purwanto, 56, a resident of Giripurwo subdistrict, Panggang district, said on Thursday many residents were suffering from itchy skin and rashes.
The outbreak began after residents started bathing and washing their clothes in Lake Thowet.
The lake, located in Blimbing hamlet, in the neighboring subdistrict of Girisekar, measures a total of 1.8 hectares.
'Wells have already dried up, so residents are relying on the lake for bathing and laundry purposes,' he said.
Darji said residents had no other options even though they were aware that the water in the lake was not clean.
Besides bathing and washing their clothes, some residents also use the lake to bathe their cattle.
Darji said his family and other residents of Giripurwo subdistrict could not afford to buy clean water for bathing and laundry. They can only afford to buy water for cooking. Some 5,000 liters of clean water costs Rp 100,000 (US$10.60).
Warna Utama, another Giripurwo resident, said besides residents of Giripurwo and Girisekar, residents from neighboring subdistricts were also making use of the lake's water.
'I estimate that hundreds of residents of Panggang and Purwosari districts have been suffering from skin-related di"