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Jakarta Post

Death in paradise: Stop business as usual in Papua

  • Victoria Fanggidae
    Victoria Fanggidae

    Research fellow at the Institute of Resource Governance and Social Change, Kupang, and a social policy researcher at Perkumpulan Prakarsa, Jakarta

Melbourne   /   Wed, January 24, 2018   /  10:05 am
Death in paradise: Stop business as usual in Papua Malnourished siblings Epi (left), Arfat (center) and Poma from Sarwamok in Agats district, Asmat regency, Papua, are being transferred to Agats General Hospital on Jan. 18. The children were found by paramedics who were deployed in response to a recent measles outbreak. The journey from Asmat’s capital to Agats regency takes several hours by boat. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)

The recent news about the malnutrition and measles outbreak that caused the deaths of over 65 children in Asmat, Papua, stood in stark irony with news about Indonesia’s rice self-sufficiency. It showed how Papuan infants begin their journey into life on a treacherous and life-threatening path. The national and local governments stated they had been aware of the calamity since September 2017, yet it took four months to realize the effects of mounting fatalities. Despite the instant response, in a few months’ time, after the emergency status is downgraded, it’s going to become business as usual again. Between May and August 2017, 38 Yahukimo residents died due to illnesses such as diarrhea or coughing. In 2013, 61 locals died in the regency near Asmat, and another 113 in 2009 because of similar reasons, apart from a reportedly failed harvest. Why do people die so ea...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.