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Papua Highlands emergency school roll grows

Radio New Zealand International - April 29, 2019

Volunteer education services continue for West Papuan children displaced by ongoing conflict in the Highlands.

Nduga regency has been the focal point of fighting between the West Papua Liberation Army and Indonesia's military.

The military increased its operations in the region after the Liberation Army massacred at least sixteen road construction workers in early December.

Since then, dozens of people have been killed and many injured in ongoing exchanges, sending local communities fleeing to the bush. Over two thousand villagers fled to Wamena in neighbouring Jayawijaya regency.

The Humanity Volunteer Team of Nduga has been helping displaced communities in Wamena with food, health and education needs. The team's co-ordinator, Ence Florian, said the emergency temporary school which the team established for displaced children continued to grow.

"At the beginning we started with 320 students from Nduga, but now we have 730 students from Nduga."

Mr Florian, who is also executive secretary of the Lotus Heart Foundation of Papua, said the students were from fifteen elementary schools, five secondary schools, and one high school.

The Humanity Volunteer Team of Nduga has been helping communities displaced by armed conflict in Papua's Nduga regency with food, health and education needs in Wamena.

He said that the displaced villagers were struggling to find shelter, but in some cases they were able to stay with relatives or friends in the neighbouring regency.

"There are some houses where there are about fifty people in one house," Mr Florian explained. According to him, there are also about 700 displaced Papuans in Lanny Jaya regency.

Meanwhile, in the latest bout of fighting in Nduga, two Indonesian soldiers were shot last week and hospitalised in Mimika regency.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/388004/papua-highlands-emergency-school-roll-grows