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Bad weather hinders famine relief in Papua JAYAPURA - No relief has arrived as yet for starving Papuans, after bad weather prevented on Saturday the delivery of food aid and medicines to a famine-stricken area of Papua. Only small amounts of food and medicines trickled into the famine-affected area of Yahukimo regency, while most of the aid was still piling up in Wamena, including assistance that had been brought by a military transport plane dispatched earlier from Jakarta.

A senior Papuan health official, Jacobus Mari, said the only food aid and medicines that had arrived in Yahukimo came from the neighboring regency of Asmat. The food aid, made up of rice and instant noodles, was transported to Yahukimo regency on two light aircraft. There are at least 42 landing strips where small aircraft can land in Yahukimo regency. Jacobus, the chief of Yahukimo health agency, said the assistance that had been received so far was far from enough, and the people of Yahukimo were anticipating more aid.

Jacobus also said that the Yahukimo health agency had not been able to dispatch health officials to the affected areas due to the bad weather. The agency had earlier planned to drop health workers off at landing strips, from where they were to make their way on foot to the famine-stricken area. "A team of two doctors and two nurses has been readied but the bad weather prevented them from going into the famine affected area," said Jacobus, who is based in Sumohai, Yahukimo's capital.

Yahukimo became the center of national attention after Regent Ones Pahabol reported that at least 55 Yahukimo people had died from starvation and 112 others had fallen sick from related illnesses since November. The famine was reportedly caused by the failure of the sweet potato crop, but Papuan opposition leaders have blamed the local and central government from ignoring their own people, leading to the famine. The opposition said the famine was evidence that the huge sums of money flowing into the province under regional autonomy had only benefited the Papuan elite rather than the people.

Yahukimo regency is some 800 kilometers from Jayapura, the Papuan capital, and can only be reached by air. The region is mostly mountainous with some valleys, and has a wet tropical climate. It extends to some 98,693 square kilometers and is inhabited by about 55,000 people, according to the most recent census.

Aid sent from Jakarta was still on the ground in Wamena, the nearest big town to Yahukimo. The aid, which was brought by a military transport plane, consisted of high-energy biscuits and medicines. "The weather is still bad and the aid is still stuck in town," said Angel Sinaga, a reporter with Pacific Post in Wamena.

The bad weather has also prevented officials from Jakarta, led by Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, from traveling to Yahukimo regency. The officials arrived in Wamena at 2 p.m but have since then been unable to depart for the famine-ravaged zone.


Related blog entry (category 'General') Related blog entry (category 'General'):
10 December 2005 · At least 55 die of hunger in Papua


Posted in General @ 11 December 2005 13:17 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





kiwimave
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(Edited) Posted @ 11 December 2005 21:53

Londoh, those are the real problems in this world. So get of the chair with your lazy butt, take a one way flight to Papua and make a real difference in this world!! Just to complain about everything is easy, to become a hero requires a lot of energy Emoticon: Wink



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