Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Media release-AWPA calls on the Government to help with food shortage in West Papua

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Media release 24 November 2011

AWPA calls on the Government to help with food shortage in West Papua


AWPA has written to AusAid asking that it assist with food aid for the people in the

Intan Jaya district of West Papua (letter below) . Media reports indicate that thousands of Papuans are suffering from a lack of food for the past four months . The report said that

19 villages in Homeo, Intan Jaya district, Papua, have been suffering from a lack of food and the people have been forced to eat tubers from the forest to survive. Australia is one of the best resourced countries in the region and we urge the Government to offer assistance to the Papuan Governor for those affected by the food shortages. West Papua is one of our nearest neighbours.

Info Joe Collins
04077 857 97

Jakart Globe report Food Crisis in Resource-Rich Papua District: Legislator

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Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088


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 Papua[1]. 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)



[1] AWPA (Sydney) uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea.

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