Death in paradise: Stop business as usual in Papua

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…

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*) Victoria Fanggidae

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

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