Food shortage in Yahukimo Regency – 17 people including eight children dead

Vice President Ma’ruf Amin has received information from the Regent of Yahukimo, Papua, regarding reports of Yahukimo residents dying due to starvation. According to the Regent of Yahukimo, there have been no starvation-related deaths, but there is indeed a shortage of food in the region. Ma’ruf made these statements during a working visit to Cibitung, Bekasi Regency, which was broadcast on the Vice President’s YouTube channel on 1 November 2023.

Ma’ruf further explained that the issue of food shortages in the region has been addressed and managed by the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture (Kemenko PMK) and the TNI (Indonesian National Armed Forces). He emphasized that the government will prioritize food security in the Papua region, stating that the situation has been resolved with the cooperation of the relevant authorities.

The Minister of Agriculture, Andi Amran Sulaiman, mentioned that they are diversifying food according to local wisdom, especially focusing on tubers suitable for the region. The government will also provide plant seeds that are suitable for the local climate, considering the cold conditions in the area. They have discovered seedlings at high altitudes, and this effort aims to improve food security in Papua quickly.

Previously, the Yahukimo Regency Government had stated that there was no famine causing mass deaths in Amuma District, emphasizing that deaths in the region were due to various causes, including illness and the elderly population.

The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) reported that famine in Yahukimo Regency was primarily a result of drought and landslides. The Yahukimo Regency Government issued a Disaster Emergency Response status from October 21 to November 1, 2023, to address the situation.

The Papua Regional Police stepped in to help by providing 4 tons of rice and instant noodles to assist the affected communities in Amuma District, Yahukimo Regency. The police chief expressed hope that this assistance would provide significant relief to those in need.

In summary, Vice President Ma’ruf Amin clarified that while there was a food shortage in Yahukimo, there were no starvation-related deaths, and the situation is being actively managed. Various government agencies and organizations are working to address the food security issues in the region, including providing assistance to affected communities.

In Yahukimo, Papua, a severe food shortage crisis has raised concerns about famine and deaths due to starvation. The situation unfolded over several months:

August to October 2023: Yahukimo Regency experienced a severe drought and crop failure due to extreme weather conditions, resulting in food shortages. As a consequence, residents faced hunger and starvation.

Late October 2023: Reports indicated that residents in Amuma District were suffering due to crop failure, and 11 people, including infants and adults, had died due to famine and a lack of food. The Yahukimo Regency Government declared a Disaster Emergency Response status in response to the famine crisis. The Yahukimo Regent clarified that while there was a food shortage issue, there was no evidence of mass deaths from starvation. Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, acknowledged the food shortage but denied direct evidence of deaths from starvation. The government planned to distribute food aid to address the crisis. The Papua Regional Police sent 4 tons of rice and instant noodles as assistance to the affected communities in Amuma District. The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) declared that the famine in Yahukimo Regency was caused by drought and landslides. BNPB prepared logistics and aid for distribution.

October 31, 2023: Minister of Agriculture, Andi Amran Sulaiman, announced plans to diversify food according to local wisdom and provide plant seeds suitable for the region’s cold climate. Kingmi Church reported an increasing death toll due to starvation in Amuma District, with a total of 17 deaths recorded.

The crisis prompted both local and national efforts to provide aid and address the food shortage, with a focus on distributing food, seeds, and other necessities to the affected communities. The situation in Yahukimo underscored the urgent need to address food security issues in the region.