MALANG, Indonesia: There were no requests for paramedics and ambulances to be on standby for the football match which ended in chaos and resulted in the deaths of at least 125 people in Indonesia, said the head of Malang’s health agency on Tuesday (Oct 4).
Mr Wiyanto Wijoyo said that it is the norm in Indonesia that whenever there is a big event that draws crowds such as football matches, the local health agency would be asked to send a few ambulances to be on standby.
“It is usually like that based on the requests made by the police or the competition organising committee.
“But the request we received from Malang regency police was for (COVID-19) vaccinators to be present (during the match),” Mr Wijoyo told CNA.
He explained that it was to encourage people to get COVID-19 vaccines as Indonesia is trying to increase the take-up rate of booster shots.
According to Mr Wijoyo, there may have been ambulances from a private hospital at the stadium last Saturday when the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya ended in a stampede. However, he could not verify this.
He said it is not a problem if private institutions help out but the request should have been made to the health agency as well.
“They should have sent a request to us as the authority in the regency.”