17 Sep 2009

Asian Human Rights Commission reports famine in Papua

3:11 pm on 17 September 2009

The Asian Human Rights Commission says it's received information that more than 100 villagers in the Yahukimo regency in Papua have died of hunger associated with diseases this year.

It says human rights groups in the area believe the harvest failure resulted in deaths in the villages.

They say the affected areas had already suffered 55 deaths from starvation due to harvest failure in 2005, but the government has failed to improve agricultural facilities to ensure food security.

The Indonesian Social Services Christian Foundation says bad weather and heavy rain have severely affected the regency.

It says the scarcity of food has led to an increase in diseases, such as malaria and diarrhoea.

The central government has sent food aid, but medical aid has not yet reached the villagers.