Indonesia ignores Cholera epidemic in West Papua
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Indonesia ignores Cholera epidemic in West Papua

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John Ahni Schertow
September 17, 2008
 

Fear of a major epidemic is spreading in West Papua, along with the highly infectious disease known as Cholera.

According to a press release from Survival International, local Church officials in West Papua, Indonesia, have reported 291 cases where Indigenous People have died from cholera since April of this year.

“Churches and human rights organisations in West Papua are calling for urgent help – they have written to the Indonesian government and to the World Heath Organisation (WHO), but have not yet received any response,” Survival writes.

Cholera is highly infectious, and can quickly become fatal unless the patient is treated and re-hydrated immediately. The Indonesian government’s failure to respond to the emergency in West Papua is likely to result in many more deaths.

“The Papuans have suffered years of violence and brutality at the hands of the Indonesian military. As a result, many tribal people in the area affected by the cholera outbreak believe they are falling ill because Indonesian soldiers have poisoned them. They are often suspicious of any medical treatment offered by the authorities.”

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, “Proper medical help is urgently needed to prevent even more Papuans dying of cholera. The Indonesian government’s indifference is shocking, and is exacerbating the effects of decades of brutal military repression.”

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