Wamena riot survivors ail from diarrhea, fever, skin itchiness

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Several survivors of the recent deadly rioting in Wamena currently accommodated in temporary shelters are ailing from diarrhea, fever, cough, and itchy skin, a top official at the Indonesian Social Affairs Ministry stated.

“Due to limited facilities and the far from comfortable condition of the temporary shelters, many displaced people are susceptible to falling sick,” Social Protection and Guarantee Director General at the Social Affairs Ministry Harry Hikmat stated here on Thursday.

Currently, several refugees reportedly suffer from diarrhea, fever, cough, and itchy skin, he remarked, adding that 1,864 displaced people were recorded to have been served by paramedics, while eight of them should have received medical treatment at hospitals between Sept 23 and Oct 2.

The paramedics tended to some 921 refugees at the 1702/Jayawijaya District Military Command’s Health Center, while 834 others were handled by those at the Jayawijaya District Police Health Center, Hikmat remarked.

The Social Affairs Ministry has sent Rp3.8 billion in humanitarian aid to help the Wamena riot survivors.

During the course of the past weeks, a circle of violence erupted in various cities in the provinces of Papua and West Papua. The deadliest riot broke out in Wamena during a rally that native Papuan students had staged on September 23.

A total of 33 people, including a medical doctor, were killed, while at least 77 others sustained injuries in the riot that also compelled several thousand residents, mostly non-native Papuans, to take shelter in the local military and police compounds.

The dead and wounded comprised non-native Papuans, who were assaulted by rioters brandishing machetes and arrows. Many of them had migrated to Papua from their hometowns in provinces, such as West Sumatra and South Sulawesi, to earn a living.

On Tuesday (Oct 1), Papua Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw had visited the survivors of the deadly Wamena riot, currently sheltered at Al Aqsa Mosque in Sentani, the capital city of Jayapura District.

Waterpauw requested them to return to Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, as the police will guarantee their security.

“Please get back to Wamena since we safeguard and protect the security of all residents,” Waterpauw told 115 displaced residents of Wamena taking refuge at the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Waterpauw showed empathy in his approach to them, affirming that he fully understood the trauma and anxiety experienced by the survivors of the Wamena riot. Many of the survivors then fled in a mass exodus over trepidation and concern.

“However, please do not allow fear and trauma to linger too long within you since the security personnel are ready to safeguard against all forms of disturbances,” Waterpauw, who officially headed the Papua police headquarters since Sept 30, emphasized.

At present, normalcy has gradually been restored in Wamena, he added. EDITED BY INE

Source: ANTARA News