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Malnutrition kills 95 in West Papua

Hundreds more could starve, group says

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

April 2, 2013

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Malnutrition has killed 95 people in a remote district of West Papua since November and many more could starve to death if nothing is done soon, activists said on Tuesday.

Kostan Magablo, from the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago, said those who died were in the isolated villages of Baddei, Jocjoker, and Kosefo in Kwoor, Tambrauw district. 

“We went to Kwoor sub-districts and discovered that health services provided by the government are inadequate. There is a healthcare unit, but it lacks medical workers,” Magablo said.

More than 500 people are suffering from malnutrition and need immediate care, he said.

Healthcare is difficult to access for many indigenous people.

“Imagine, they have to walk for three or four days to get to the unit,” he added.

He warned the death toll could go higher unless there is “serious effort” from the government.

Minister of Health Nafsiah Mboi said she is waiting for an official report from the local health department before taking any action.

“The authority is the local health department. We will follow up on the report,” she told 

“We will help for sure,” she said.

According to last year’s report from the National Commission on Child Protection, about eight million Indonesian children are malnourished, a condition that causes stunted growth.  

Related report

Mother and child deaths still well above UN levels

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