16 Feb 2006

Extreme cold in Indonesia's Papua kills 95 - report

9:30 am on 16 February 2006

Extreme cold in the highest inhabited regions of the Indonesian province of Papua is said to have triggered the deaths of at least 95 people in the last two months.

The daily newspaper, Kompas says the low temperatures have exacerbated illnesses amongst children and elderly villagers in the Puncak Jaya region.

The head of the area communications office, Hendrik Bilanglabi, said people were suffering from pneumonia, tuberculosis, dysentery and diarrhoea.

Mr Bilanglabi said people living on the slopes of Cartenz Mountain, had refused to be relocated.

He said local officials were currently building houses in a traditional manner designed to ward off the cold.