The governor of Indonesia's Papua province, Barnabas Suebu, says more than 80 percent of people in rural areas are living in absolute poverty.
The Jakarta Post newspaper reports that Governor Suebu has visited a number of remote villages over the past two weeks.
He says the impression he received was that most of the people were unable to fend for themselves, resulting in local administrations being overwhelmed by aid requests.
Mr Suebu says the standard of education in rural areas is far below that in urban areas.
Many schools have just one or two teachers, which means the quality of education and the attention students receive is
He said there are cases of students graduating high school and going to university but not being able to write.
The Governor also says health and nutrition are major concerns in more remote areas of the province.
He says this calls for a program to help raise the standard of living in the villages.
Governor Suebu says considering Papua's natural wealth it is incomprehensible that so
many residents live in poverty.