Jakarta. The government is trying to help residents of Asgats, a village in Asmat district, Papua, where severe malnutrition has led to an outbreak of measles, tuberculosis and malaria, Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham said on Monday (22/01).
As people continue to die, a special task force has been sent to the region. According to the minister, since December 57 children have succumbed to malnutrition-related diseases.
The minister said the task force from the ministry and the Ministry of Health and the Indonesian Military (TNI) was deployed on Jan. 15 to provide relief in the district.
"The team was sent there to solve the emergency," Idrus said in Palembang, as quoted by state news agency Antara, adding that staple foods and medicines have also been delivered.
Following President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo instruction, TNI chief Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto sent 53 medics and paramedics to the region, the military said in a statement.
Despite medical help, 46 people out of more than 6,500 treated have died in the past few days.
TNI spokesman Maj. Gen. Sabrar Fadhilah said cases of acute diphtheria, also caused by malnutrition, have been recorded in nearby Okbibab in Pegunungan Bintang.
Limited access to the remote regions makes it particularly difficult to evacuate the victims.
TNI medics have moved some of the patients to hospitals. They had to walk for hours to reach the nearest transportation infrastructure.