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Indonesia to send aid to drought-hit Papua region

JAKARTA: Indonesian authorities will this week send aid to remote areas of the eastern Papua region, where thousands are facing hunger brought on by drought, the chief of the country’s disaster agency said on Monday (Jul 31).

Six have died since June in the mountainous Puncak district in Central Papua due to a snowy season that was immediately followed by a prolonged dry season that hit crops. Access to the region is hampered by difficult terrain and threats posed by armed separatists, authorities said.

Suharyanto, chief of Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB), said in a statement authorities would send food, milk and other aid to the region on Wednesday. The area is only accessible via two-wheeled vehicles and helicopters.

Earlier on Monday, he told a news conference that Puncak residents suffer from drought every year “but this year it’s more extreme”, to the extent that some have died of hunger.

He told Reuters that four died of hunger last year in the same region, adding the drought was caused by climate change.

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