Deaths and Hunger in Kwoor District, Papua

Press Release

from AMAN – The Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago

April 3, 2013

“We have been sick for so long yet the medical staffs do not care at all,” complained people of Kwoor district, Tambrauw regency to The Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) Chapter Sorong Raya.

Since November 2012, indigenous peoples of Kwoor district have been getting stricken by disease causing mass deaths.  The people mostly suffer from malnutrition and itching skin. These have been epidemic in several villages, including Jokjoker, Kosefo, Baddei, Sukuweis and Krisnos.

According to the information AMAN Sorong Raya has obtained, as per February 2013, about 535 people has been affected by those diseases and 95 people died. In Baddei village, 250 people are ill and 45 people died. In Jokjoker, 210 people are ill and 15 people died. In Kosefa, 75 people are ill and 35 people died.

According to villagers, the government of Kwoor doesn’t provide any health service. The Postu (subordinate station) in Kwoor remains lacking of medical staffs, thus people willing to consult are often unable to obtain health service due to the absence of doctor or mantri (medical practitioner). Villagers often have to walk to another village just to get medical treatment.

Church staff of Jokjoker said that the epidemic in that village started in November 2012. Villagers went to Werur village to get medical treatment and have reported to medical staff and government of Sausapor district and Tambrauw regency. Yet, they have not shown any obvious effort to help the villagers. Today the people have to find the medical treatment themselves by walking a very long distance for days.

Until February 2013, a lot of people of Kwoor died one after another. Villagers of Kosefo (of which 12 people are ill) walked to Sausapor district for four days just to get medical treatment and report to hospital. Villagers of Jokjoker were traumatized because a lot of people have died. They didn’t have any choice but to move to Bikar, Baddei Sibi villages or to Sausapor. Travelling on foot from Jokjoker to Bikar takes one whole day.

Local government is slow in giving health service.  Until today, only two villages (Sumbab and Bikar) have gotten medicines.  People are ordered to come to villages downhill.  Since most of them are ill and can’t walk long distance, just some people came to get medicines from villages in where health service established.

AMAN Sorong Raya and its network have been trying to stop this epidemic.  They have sent representatives to obtain a more detailed and complete information.  AMAN Sorong is consolidating existing networks to urge the local government to establish service to handle the epidemic in Tambrauw regency.

AMAN Sorong Raya’s recommendations are as follow:

The State is indicatively committing gross human rights violation by neglecting its people.
Immediately sending medical teams providing treatment and service for ill villagers.
Establishing counselling and reinforcement for villagers losing their family members to prevent lingering trauma.
Immediately establishing independent investigation on the mass deaths and improper health services.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN)
Jl. Tebet Timur Dalam Raya No. 11A Jakarta Selatan, Indonesia 12820
Phone: 62 -21-8297954
Fax: 62-21-83706282


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