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 INDONESIA   
 Health Information by 
Travel Health Online

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Republic of Indonesia encompasses more than 3,000 islands that stretch 3,400 miles along the equator between Southeast Asia and Australia. Tropical rain forests cover most of Indonesia's terrain up to 3,000 feet. The tropical climate varies with season and altitude. A wet season begins in November and lasts until March, followed by a dry season from April to October.

Tourist services are plentiful in the major tourist sites. In many areas of the country, the level of community sanitation is substandard. Adequate private medical care is available in Jakarta but is substandard elsewhere. Advance planning for medical emergencies is important.

HEALTH RISKS

  • Insects transmit a variety of diseases. Mosquitoes, in particular, transmit malaria, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis. Personal protective measures are important. Risk is significant in most rural areas.
  • Quite a few diseases, including hepatitis A, are transmitted by unsanitary food handling procedures and contaminated water. Bacteria that cause stomach upset and traveler's diarrhea are quite common. Food and beverage precautions are essential in order to avoid illness.
  • Animal rabies presents a risk on some islands.
  • HIV transmission is established.
  • Influenza risk extends throughout the year.
  • Common "childhood" diseases such as measles and diphtheria pose a risk, and cases of polio still occur.
  • Freshwater lakes and streams in many areas pose health risks due to pollution and the presence of organisms that cause diseases such as schistosomiasis. Ocean water may also be polluted, so avoid it unless you know it's safe.
  • Heat and sun can pose problems throughout the country. Use appropriate sun protection and be prepared to handle the heat.

HEALTH PRECAUTIONS

Pre-Departure Preparations

  • Consult a qualified health care provider before traveling to Indonesia.
  • Malaria: Determine whether you'll be at risk for malaria and what preventive medicine you should take if you are.
    • Risk exists throughout the year in all areas of Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) and in rural areas of all other islands (exceptions are metropolitan areas of Jakarta, Jogyakarta, Surabaya, Medan, and Denpasar, plus contiguous tourist areas of Bali). Risk is limited to areas not usually visited by travelers; only travelers likely to have evening or nighttime exposure in risk areas should undertake chemoprophylaxis. Limited risk in rural Bali; prophylaxis not recommended.
    • Medicines that protect against malaria in this area include mefloquine (Lariam), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone). An alternative medicine is chloroquine/proguanil in areas outside of Papua. Each has potential side effects and may be inappropriate for some people.
  • Yellow fever: Although yellow fever does not occur in Indonesia, proof of appropriate vaccination may be required depending on your itinerary.
    • Requirement: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers coming from infected areas. A certificate is also required from travelers arriving from endemic countries.
  • Other vaccines: Immunization against hepatitis A is generally recommended for travelers to Indonesia, as is a one-time polio booster if you haven't previously received one for travel. Depending on your itinerary, the purpose for your trip, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccinations against hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies or typhoid. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.
  • Visa: Visa applicants may need to meet specific requirements. Review the application and contact Indonesia's embassy if you have questions.
  • Other preparations: Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that you are in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Discuss appropriate prescription and over-the-counter medications to combat traveler's diarrhea. Be sure to bring a supply of these and any other medicines you regularly require that will be adequate to last your entire stay. Bring a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary.

Post-Trip Considerations

  • If you have traveled in an area of malaria risk, seek immediate medical attention for any flu-like illness occurring within one year of your return home. Be sure to tell your health care provider your travel history.

TRAVEL ADVISORY

The material below is reprinted verbatim from the U.S. Department of State. Information regarding health measures, if given here, may differ from what is presented elsewhere in this report.

Public Announcement - September 20, 2000

American citizens traveling or living in Indonesia should exercise extreme caution. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta has had indications that the wave of recent bombings in Jakarta may escalate and that American companies and interests, not further identified, may be targeted. On September 13, a bomb exploded at the Jakarta Stock Exchange building, where a number of American businesses have offices, killing 15 people and injuring dozens of others. No Americans were hurt in this bombing. Numerous smaller blasts have occurred in various other parts of the country. There has been an increase in the number and size of bombs, and several of them have exploded at busy times of day in areas frequented by expatriate residents of Jakarta. No one has claimed responsibility for these blasts.

Public Announcement - September 8, 2000

American citizens traveling to Indonesia and East Timor should exercise extreme caution, avoiding areas of instability and potentially dangerous situations.

On September 6, a militia mob in Atambua, West Timor, attacked United Nations offices, killing several UN international staff. Until violent militia activity is brought under control, similar incidents may occur in other areas of West Timor. The militias have specifically targeted foreigners. American citizens are strongly advised to avoid all travel to West Timor. Americans in West Timor should depart immediately by the safest means available.

The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group has been active throughout the islands in the extreme southwest Philippines, near Indonesia. On April 23, this group kidnapped several foreign citizens from the Malaysian Island of Sipadan off the coast of Borneo, an area bordering Indonesia. American citizens traveling to the border regions in Northern Kalimantan and Sulawesi, in particular the smaller islands closer to the Philippines, are urged to review their security procedures, remain vigilant to their surroundings, keep a low profile, and vary routes and times of all required travel.

While support for Indonesia's first democratically elected government has led to a general decrease in the level of civil unrest, political infighting continues to contribute to a sense of uncertainty. At the same time, unrest in various regions of Indonesia continues, and security forces have had difficulties maintaining law and order. Citing security concerns, the government of Indonesia has restricted the travel of U.S. and other foreign government officials to certain areas as discussed below.

East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in an August 30, 1999 referendum and is currently under the authority of the United Nations' Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). Violence erupted throughout East Timor after the United Nations-sponsored ballot in that province. Although a measure of stability has returned to the territory following the arrival of international forces, crime and lawlessness remain a major problem. Gang violence is on the increase in the capital of Dili and elsewhere. American citizens are strongly encouraged to exercise caution in East Timor, particularly during nighttime hours, and to avoid areas along the border between East and West Timor. Militia incursions have occurred in a western and central districts of East Timor, and travelers wishing to visit these areas are encouraged to consult UN authorities in Dili before departing.

In the Molucca Islands, serious communal violence broke out on the island of Ambon in January 1999 and has now spread throughout this island group. The intensity of the violence compelled the Government of Indonesia on June 26, 2000 to declare a "Civil State of Emergency". American citizens are urged to avoid all travel to the Moluccas, including the provinces of both Maluku and North Maluku. Violence in the province of Maluku, which includes the island of Ambon, is particularly severe, and American citizens are encouraged to depart immediately if they are already there. In North Maluku tensions remain high, and American citizens should avoid traveling to that province.

Although anti-Christian sentiment is not widespread in Indonesia, inflammatory statements by community leaders, as well as violence in the Molucca Islands, have sparked some tension between Moslem and Christian communities elsewhere in Indonesia. Serious communal violence has also broken out in the province of Central Sulawesi. On January 17, 2000, anti-Christian violence broke out on the resort island of Lombok, leading to looting and the burning of a number of churches. Although there has not been a recurrence of major violence since January, American citizens should take this earlier unrest into account when planning travel. Lombok is about 25 miles from the island of Bali.

Demonstrations in Bali have been infrequent and have not been directed at American citizens. Violent demonstrations of short-lived duration occurred in October 1999, but did not target foreigners or the major tourist areas. Conditions in Bali quickly returned to normal.

Political changes have given new impetus to aspirations for independence in Aceh and Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya) where violent incidents continue to occur. American citizens are strongly urged to defer all travel to Aceh. Violence has targeted American companies with growing frequency. American citizens resident in Aceh should consider departing. In Papua, violence has been less frequent. The government of Indonesia, citing security concerns, has restricted the travel of U.S. and other foreign government officials to the provinces of Aceh, Papua, and Maluku. American citizens should take this into account when planning travel to these regions.

Americans should remember that many parts of Indonesia, including many tourist destinations, can be isolated and difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links. In cases of unrest, medical emergency, or logistical problems, travelers may find it difficult to depart quickly. Americans also should be watchful while in urban areas, where demonstrations and other violence can occur without warning.

Travelers and residents should ensure that passports and important personal papers are in order in the event that it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly. Because the situation is uncertain and new outbreaks of violence are possible, American citizens are advised to consult the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya for the most recent security information and generally to exercise caution.

The Department of State encourages American citizens considering travel to Indonesia to carefully review the information available in the State Department's Consular Information Sheet, available on the Internet at www.usembassyjakarta.org or on the Bureau of Consular Affairs' home page at travel.state.gov. All Americans resident or traveling in Indonesia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta (telephone 62-21-344-2211), the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya (telephone 62-31-568-2287), or the U.S. Consular Agency in Bali (telephone 62-361-233-605) and to obtain updated information on the security situation. Registration may be completed in person, by fax, or through the U.S. Embassy home page. Although a U.S. liaison office will open in East Timor in the coming months, there is currently no official U.S. presence there.

This Public Announcement expires on January 11, 2001.

Consular Information Sheet - February 18, 2000

Country Description: Indonesia is an independent republic consisting of more than 13,500 islands spread over 3,000 miles. Indonesia's economy is developing, and tourist services are plentiful in the major tourist areas. East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in an August 30, 1999 referendum and is currently under the authority of the United Nations' Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). UNTAET was established by a unanimous vote of the UN Security Council on October 25, 1999, for the purpose of rebuilding East Timor and helping to establish a new government. Its initial mandate expires on January 31, 2001.

Entry Requirements: A passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of departure from Indonesia/East Timor is required. A visa is not required for tourist stays up to two months in Indonesia. Entry into East Timor is currently controlled by UNTAET, which can be difficult to reach due to limited communications infrastructure. American citizens wishing to enter East Timor can contact the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta for current guidance. For additional information about entry requirements for Indonesia, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, 2020 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036, telephone (202) 775-5200, Internet address www.kbri.org.

Safety and Security: After over 30 years in office, the government of President Suharto came to an end in May 1998 amid widespread demonstrations, rioting, and looting throughout the country. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in most parts of the country on June 7, 1999 and were followed by the election of President Abdurrahman Wahid on October 20, 1999. These steps revitalized Indonesia's political institutions and restored a measure of stability and security in most of the major cities, some of which experienced violent demonstrations under the interim government in 1998-99. Nevertheless, the political situation remains fluid as the new government faces continued civil strife in some important outlying areas, most notably Aceh, Papua (the province formerly known as Irian Jaya), and Maluku. Violence in these areas, that continued throughout 1998 and 1999, has occasionally targeted American citizens. Travel to these areas can be dangerous and in some cases is to be avoided.

Over the past year, there has been widespread violence in the Molucca Islands and Aceh. Past violence in Aceh has sometimes targeted American companies. Travelers should consult the most recent Public Announcement on Indonesia for updated information on travel to these areas.

Violence erupted throughout East Timor after the August 30, 1999, United Nations-sponsored ballot in that province. Although stability returned to the area with the arrival of international forces, American citizens are strongly encouraged to exercise caution in East Timor.

Travelers may need permits to visit certain regions in the province of Papua. In 1996, a group of foreigners was taken hostage for several months in Papua (then known as Irian Jaya) by the Free Papua Movement (OPM). U.S. citizens should exercise caution when traveling in the province.

Demonstrations in Bali have been infrequent and have not been directed at American citizens. Violent demonstrations of short-lived duration occurred in October 1999 but did not target foreigners or the major tourist areas. In January 2000, however, serious rioting directed against Chinese and Christians broke out in the nearby resort island of Lombok, forcing the evacuation of virtually all foreigners from Lombok, including the resort areas. American citizens should consult the most recent Public Announcement on Indonesia for updated information on travel to Lombok.

For more specific and up-to-date information on the safety of travel to these and other areas of Indonesia and East Timor, please consult the most recent Public Announcement on Indonesia, which can be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs' home page at travel.state.gov. Americans can also contact the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta or the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya for updated information. American citizens in all parts of Indonesia should exercise prudence and common sense, and avoid demonstrations and other situations that could turn violent.

Travelers and residents should always ensure that passports and important personal papers are in order in the event that it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly for any reason. Americans traveling in Indonesia should remember that much of the country, including many tourist destinations, is isolated and difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links.

Crime Information: The crime rate in Jakarta is moderate but rising. Minor crimes, such as pickpocketing and thefts, occur in popular tourist sites throughout the country. Incidents of robbery have been reported.

One common technique involves puncturing automobile tires so that the occupants of the car can be robbed while changing the tire. The number of beggars and vagrants at intersections has increased, and thefts and robberies from cars stopped at traffic lights have been reported. American citizens are advised to keep car doors locked and windows rolled up.

Americans in Jakarta who require taxis are advised to engage a taxi either from a major hotel queue or by calling a taxi company, rather than hailing one on the street. Sporadic roadblocks and robberies have been reported on the toll roads leading to the International Airport in Jakarta.

Maritime piracy is a persistent problem in some Indonesian waters, targeting both pleasure and commercial vessels. Pleasure yachters are advised to review the current security situation with their local agent when planning itineraries and to exercise particular care when sailing in the Straits of Malacca between Riau Province and Singapore and in the waters north of Sulawesi and Kalimantan.

Poaching and illegal logging are serious problems in Indonesian parks and nature preserves. Those involved in these activities have sometimes threatened tourists and others in order to discourage travel to these areas.

In the aftermath of the August 1999 vote for independence, East Timor was swept by violence that included widespread looting and burning and, in some cases, murder. One foreign journalist was shot to death and several others were beaten. Although UN peacekeeping forces have restored a measure of stability to the region, violent incidents remain possible in border areas. Elsewhere in the territory, theft is a potential problem.

Lost or stolen passports should be reported to the local police and the  Embassy or nearest  consulate. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad, which is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402 or via the Internet at www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs.

Medical Facilities: The general level of sanitation and health care in Indonesia is below U.S. standards. Some level of routine medical care is available in all major cities, although most expatriates choose to leave the country for serious medical procedures. Medical care in East Timor is extremely limited. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Medical Insurance: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties. Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provisions for medical evacuation. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at travel.state.gov.

Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at www.cdc.gov.   Other Health Sies: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/health/

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, Western citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in their homeland. The information below concerning Indonesia is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

  • Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
  • Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Variable
  • Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
  • Availability of Roadside Assistance: Limited

All traffic operates on the left side of the road, and most vehicles use right-hand drive. Roads in major cities and toll roads are good. Roads are narrower and may be more poorly maintained in rural areas and remote regions. Driving at night outside major cities can be hazardous. Taxis are an affordable means of transportation but should be called directly or hired from the taxi queue at a reputable hotel. Make sure the taxi driver agrees to take you to your destination. Never get into a taxi already occupied by another passenger, and always insist on using the taxi meter.

For specific information concerning the operation and rental of motor vehicles in Indonesia, please contact the Indonesian Directorate General of Tourism via the Internet at www.tourismindonesia.com.

Aviation Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Indonesia's civil aviation authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Indonesia's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873 or visit the FAA's Internet web site at www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 256-4801.

Customs Regulations: Indonesia's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Indonesia. This is true for both commercial and personal use items (such as prescription medicines). It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Indonesia in Washington, DC at (202) 775-5200 or one of Indonesia's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the same protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the laws of Indonesia or East Timor, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Criminal penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Indonesia and East Timor are strict, and convicted offenders can expect severe jail sentences and fines. UNTAET is responsible for security and law enforcement in East Timor.

Disaster Preparedness: Indonesia is located in an area of high seismic activity. Although the probability of a major earthquake occurring during an individual trip is remote, earthquakes can and will continue to happen. General information regarding disaster preparedness is available via the Internet at travel.state.gov/crisismg.html and from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) home page at www.fema.gov.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children or international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

 This Health Information is from  Travel Health Online

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