November 24, 2023
JAKARTA – The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said it will form a task force to combat the rabies outbreak in East Nusa Tenggara and use emergency funds for swift intervention.
“BNPB will immediately form an integrated emergency handling task force at the request of the East Nusa Tenggara governor,” Coordinating Human development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said after the meeting to discuss the outbreak at his office on Tuesday.
The minister also said BNPB would use ready-to-use funds to support the task force’s operations, including the additional vaccines and equipment necessary for rabies vaccination in the province.
Attending the ministerial meeting was BNPB chief Lt. Gen. Suharyanto. He said the agency is ready to handle the rabies case in East Nusa Tenggara.
“BNPB has experience dealing with animal diseases, [particularly] foot and mouth disease. At that time, we collaborated with the agriculture ministry by forming a Task Force,” said Suharyanto.
The chief referred to the foot and mouth disease task force in 2022, when he was the chief. Suharyanto said at that time, the government also issued an emergency status.
“This is necessary to make sure the expenditure of ready-to-use funds is in accordance with applicable regulations,” Suharyanto said.
East Nusa Tenggara Health Agency recorded 1,823 cases of rabid animal bites as of Nov. 15 in South Central Timor Regency and North Central Timor Regency. The agency also recorded 11 fatalities in the two regencies.