Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
Director General Peter Baxter
AusAid, GPO Box 887
Canberra , ACT 2601
24 November 2011
Dear Director General,
I am writing to you concerning the reports of a food crisis in the Intan Jaya district of West Papu
a. Media reports indicate that thousands of Papuans are suffering from a lack of food for the past four months and have been forced to eat tubers from the forest to survive. A member of the Papua Legislative Council (DPRP) in a media report on Monday said that crop failure had occurred in the area because of “bad weather including heavy rains and strong winds” which has destroyed crops. Villagers are surviving only on tubers. Although at this stage there have been no reports of deaths, this possibility is not ruled out given that communication with the area is difficult. The area can only be reached by plane and according to the report the local government did not appear to be providing any help to alleviate the suffering.
We understand that AusAid only responds to requests for aid from governments. However , many people have died in the past in droughts and famine in West Papua and we urge you to offer aid to the Indonesian Government for the villages in the Intan Jaya district. Media reports have stated that up to 19 villages in the district have been effected by the crop failures. The Australia Government has in the past supported drought relief in the highlands of West Papua.
We note that Prime Minister Julia Gillard has offered to support Indonesia in disaster relief and will give four C-130 Hercules – worth an estimated $30 million – to Indonesia for disaster relief and humanitarian work in an agreement struck in Bali between the Prime Minister and the Indonesian President. As Australia is one of the best resourced countries in the region we urge you to offer assistance to the Papuan Governor for those affected by the food shortages.
 AWPA (Sydney) uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea.
- West Papua: How to lose a country (westpapuamedia.info)
- Why Now? A West Papua Backgrounder (westpapuamedia.info)
- AWPA: Increasing tension in West Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- AWPA: CHOGM leaders should condemn the brutal crackdown on the West Papuan people (westpapuamedia.info)
- AWPA letter to Foreign Minister re crackdown by security forces in West Papua (westpapuamedia.info)