Regent of Asmat and Papua Governor refused President’s offered on relocation

President Joko Widodo meet Papua Governor and Asmat Regent to discuss health crisis in Asmat at Presidential Palace, Tuesday (23/1/2018) – youtube.com

Bogor, Jubi – Elisa Kambu, the Regent of Asmat considers that efforts to relocate Asmat people are not possible.

“Relocation to new places is impossible, (even though) the relocation was intended by the President in order to make improvements of the surrounding communities in the districts and villages they live in,” Elisa said at Bogor Palace on Tuesday (January 23).

Elisa delivered the statement in a joint press statement after having a meeting with President Joko Widodo at Bogor Palace, West Java.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo, Minister of Health Nila Moeloek, Minister of Social Affairs Idrus Marham, Head of Staff Office of President Moeldoko, Regent of Asmat Elisa Kambu, Vice Regent of Nduga Regency Wentius Nimiangge and Papua Governor Lukas Enembe.

Previously President Joko Widodo had offered the relocation as an option to overcome the measles and malnutrition outbreaks in Asmat. Cases of measles and malnutrition in Papua are scattered in several areas including Pegunungan Bintang Regency. Those even happened repeatedly.

“Because moving people is not that easy, it is related to culture and customs, customary rights, and how they plant, gathering food etc. We will take care of the people, we would guarantee them with better access,” Elisha added.

According to Elisa, health facilities such as Puskesmas (health centre) have existed in all district capitals (sub-districts), but the problem is how to maximize the operation.

 

“We hope the people would stay in their village, not in the forest or elsewhere, we do not intend to move them from the village, far from their own place and territory,” said Elisha.

Papua Governor Lukas Enembe said that the most likely relief is to improve their own place within a district range by building housing and roads.

“We cannot move them elsewhere,” Lukas said.

Social Minister Idrus Marham said that the President asked for an integrated and comprehensive approach to deal with the outbreaks.

“We cannot work alone, the president also said that because this problem (not) only occurs in Asmat, it needs to look at other districts (and regencies) in Papua in order to anticipate everything,” said Idrus.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Nina Moeloek said he would go to Papua on Wednesday (24/1).

“After the critical condition we will think about rehabilitation and the long-term solution, one of which has been mentioned (by the governor) is to make a good shelter around the village to accommodate people nomadic livelihood. We must also take care of its fuel, we might cooperate with Ministy of Forestry to cultivate sago as their main local food, we should improve it, also fish processing,” she said.

The outbreaks of measles and malnutrition occurred in Asmat District since September 2017 which had resulted in 68 infants and children died.

On January 1-11, 2018 the joint team was reported to have treated hundreds of patients with measles, 393 of whom were outpatients and 175 of whom were hospitalized.

A number of obstacles that are experienced are the lack of doctors that there are only 12 doctors and one specialist in Asmat. (Antara)