Wamena, Jubi – In three districts within Yahukimo Regency, Mountainous Papua, hundreds of residents have been grappling with hunger since August due to crop failures. As many as 23 residents have lost their lives in this dire situation. The affected districts are Amuma, Panggema, and Anggruk.
Hasuka Hisage, the Head of the Office for Social Affairs, Women's Empowerment, and Child Protection, shared this information during a food aid distribution event by the Mountainous Papua Provincial Government on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, in Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency.
According to Hasuka Hisage, the prolonged drought has led to the withering of crops, primarily tubers, in residents' gardens, resulting in crop failure.
"People in Amuma, Panggema, and Anggruk Districts have been facing hunger, with Amuma District being particularly affected since last August, leading to 23 casualties," explained Hasuka Hisage.
"We have coordinated with the Ministry of Social Affairs and took immediate action by providing 30 tons of essential food assistance, which was transported to the location via 15 flights," he added.
Additionally, the Mountainous Papua Social Service will provide 1 ton of rice directly to Amuma District. Hasuka Hisage noted that Amuma District encompasses eight churches, including Kingmi and GKI. He emphasized that the assistance offered thus far has come from the ministry and the provincial Social Service, as the Yahukimo Regency Government has not yet provided aid to the affected population.
Hasuka Hisage pointed out that the yam and taro plants cultivated by the community were only six months to one year old and had failed to thrive due to the extended drought. Moreover, the vegetables couldn't survive due to the scarcity of water.
"When we delivered aid to the location, we observed that only the youth could participate in carrying the food supplies. Children and the elderly were too weak to help, and many residents were unwell, prompting calls for the Health Department's intervention. The Education Office also needs to become involved since the children are no longer attending school," said Hasuka Hisage.
He stressed that this disaster is a grave concern for the provincial government as it has led to loss of life. "We will closely monitor the situation there and urge the Yahukimo Regency Government to pay attention to and address this critical issue. It demands serious action from the government and various stakeholders," he concluded. (*)