Indonesia home to 5.4 million abandoned children: minister

13:35, March 15, 2010      

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Indonesian Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al Jufri said that there were 5.4 million abandoned children across the country and the number continues to increase, many of them living on the streets, the Jakarta Post reported here on Monday.

Speaking in an occasion at an Islamic Boarding School in Mataram, West Nusatenggara (NTB) province on Sunday, the minister said that of those children, 230,000 were street children who spent either their entire days or several hours of each day on the street.

"The growth in the number of abandoned children is unhealthy because they don't have homes, production and access to education and healthcare," Salim said.

"In Jakarta alone, based on data from the city Social Services Agency, the number of street children is now at 12,000," the minister added.

In Indonesia, children are legally defined as being under the age of 18.

Street children in Indonesia are an unfortunate fallout of the Asian monetary crisis that hit the region in 1997.

Abandoned children are not the only social problems faced by Indonesia, which is also home to 1.6 million disabled people, including 163,000 heavily disabled ones.

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