26 Jan 2006

Indonesia accused of not delivering aid to Papua famine victims

9:35 am on 26 January 2006

The human rights group ELSHAM has criticised the Indonesian government for what it calls an ineffective response to an ongoing famine in Papua province.

Reports from Indonesia last month estimated that at least 80 people have died of hunger in the Yahukimo regency, mainly owing to poor food management following the devastation of local crops by heavy rains.

ELSHAM's Denny Yomaki says the famine had started six months before the government took action when media reports surfaced late last year.

Mr Yomaki says the problem is now getting worse with food relief not getting through, and the government's sense of responsibility for the security of its people in the province is very weak:

"Even though the government was already informed, they did nothing to help them until six months later. The situation is getting worse. Already a lot of foodstock has been collected to go to the area but until now it's not transported to the region where the famine is taking place."