The Jakarta Post

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 10/23/2002 7:07 AM | National

I Wayan Juniartha and Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali

The Bali administration has set aside a plot of land in the Mumbul area of Jimbaran subdistrict, some 30 kilometers south of the provincial capital of Denpasar, for a mass grave for unidentified victims of the Oct. 12 bombing in Kuta.

“”There are several state-owned plots of land in that area, and we have decided to use one of them as the site for the mass burial,”” Deputy Governor I Gusti Bagus Alit Putra said on Tuesday.

The death toll in the bombing reached 190 after six victims who were evacuated to Australia died of their injuries on Tuesday. Most of the fatalities were foreigners.

Alit Putra declined to give the exact location of the plot or how large the designated mass grave would be.

Addressing concerns by several customary villages or desa adat, which do not want unidentified bodies buried on their land for fear that they will defile the spiritual realm of the villages, Alit Putra stressed that the designated land belonged to the provincial administration, not the customary villages.

“”After all, the area around the designated land is already filled with several different cemeteries,”” he said.

The only place that matches Alit Putra’s description is located next to the Ngurah Rai highway connecting Denpasar and Kuta, and linking the airport and the tourist resort of Nusa Dua.

Alit Putra said the bodies of the unidentified victims could either be buried directly or cremated first.

He said the Bali administration was waiting for a forensic team to complete its work trying to identify the victims before beginning the process of the mass burial.

“”As soon as the forensic team completes the identification process on the bodies and decides that some of the bodies are beyond identification, and after securing permission from the countries that lost citizens in the bombings, then we will begin to move the bodies to the designated plot,”” he said.

As of Tuesday, the team has identified 52 bodies.

Lanang Rudiarte, director of Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar, said that of the 52 bodies, 20 had been returned by their families to their respective countries, including two Americans, two Australians, three Britons, one Equadorean and one German.

Lanang also said that his team, assisted by an Australian expert, had started to embalm the victims.

The medical personnel, assisted by experts from Australia, Singapore and Thailand, had also started conducting DNA tests on the victims.

“”Thus far, tests have been conducted on their blood, fingernails and their teeth,”” Lanang said.

Unlike the first three days after the tragedy, only a few foreign volunteers were seen in Sanglah on Tuesday as some of them had been replaced by volunteers from the International Committee of the Red Cross along with local counterparts from the Indonesia Red Cross.

Meanwhile, Gantry Amalo, a local volunteer from Humanitarian Volunteer Network for Bali (JRKB), said that Sanglah had received more than Rp 350 million in aid from various sources, including local and foreign institutions.

The hospital, nevertheless, still complained that the money was not enough to cover all its expenses as it still had to pay Rp 31 million in debt to local drug stores, Gantry said.

The central government has promised assistance amounting to some Rp 1 billion to a number of hospitals, including Sanglah.

Meanwhile, the Bali administration also promised to assist the families of the dead to the tune of Rp 3 million each as well as the injured, with Rp 2.5 million each.

Lanang said that currently Sanglah hospital was only treating 21 injured, mostly locals, while some others were being cared for at the Puri Raharja and Dharma Husada Hospitals in Denpasar.

“”The 121 injured foreigners have been evacuated to various countries, including Australia and the U.S.,”” Lanang said.

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