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Number of malnutrition victims in Papua's Asmat surpasses 10,000

Radio New Zealand International - January 26, 2018

The number of malnutrition victims in Asmat district of Indonesia's Papua province has reportedly surpassed 10,000.

Papua's police commander, Inspector General Boy Rafli Amar has told the Antara news Agency that the number could be as high as 15,000.

While his figures have been disputed by Indonesian officials in Jakarta, there is growing concern over the health crisis in Asmat.

The district, or regency, has a parallel measles outbreak which has killed around 60 children in the past few months. In various reports over the past two weeks, including those by AFP, Indonesian officials have linked the measles situation to malnutrition.

Mr Amar cited various factors driving malnutrition in the district, including its remoteness, lack of access to health facilities, poor transportation, and a lack of nutritious food.

He has called on the Police Headquarters to send its physicians to fill vacant posts at health centres in Asmat.

Papua police and military commands were reportedly establishing a health task force to map areas that are prone to the diseases.

Indonesia's military last week said it had deployed medical teams and support staff to supply Asmat villagers with medicine, vaccines, medical equipment and nutritious food.

According to the police chief, 2000-3000 vials of measles vaccine are needed.

Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/348986/number-of-malnutrition-victims-in-papua-s-asmat-surpasses-10-000.

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