27 Sep 2019

Health workers in West Papua concerned for their safety

2:27 pm on 27 September 2019

Indonesian health workers in West Papua are concerned for their safety as surging violence creates extra demands for their services.

Unrest broke out in Wamena on 23 September.

Unrest broke out in Wamena on 23 September. Photo: Supplied

Antara reported that traumatised doctors have requested a transfer from Wamena following Monday's violence which officials said killed around 30 people including a doctor.

Monday's violence in Wamena was kicked off after security forces intervened in a student protest over alleged racism.

Various buildings in the town were torched and a number of people trapped in the inferno.

Locally-based paramedics are grieving the death of their colleague, Dr Soeko Marsetiyo, who police said was assaulted by rioters.

Traumatised health workers, including ten doctors, have requested to be evacuated.

Papua's provincial health authorities said the Wamena hospital is in dire need of medical doctors.

The provincial government has deployed 24 paramedics to assist, with dozens of people still seriously injured from the unest and the prospect of further violence still very real.

Police said that due to the violence in Wamena several thousands of residents, mostly non-native Papuans, had fled the town to take refuge.

1,300 military and police personnel are stationed in Jayawijaya regency, of which Wamena is the capital.

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