Emergency Response in the Remote and Vulnerable Area
In the second half of 2023, three districts in Puncak Regency, Central Papua experienced a prolonged extreme weather that caused drought. These districts are located in the Jayawijaya Mountains, which often experience this kind of situation. When the cold temperature reaches an extreme point, the tubers that people plant freeze until they eventually rot and the harvest fails. As a result, as many as 8,000 children and people living in the districts had nothing to eat, and six people died.
Trying to address this, the national government as well as humanitarian organizations like WVI decided to respond. This response was crucial as the affected districts were the most remote and underdeveloped, as well as conflict-prone. The fastest means of transportation that could reach the three affected districts was a chartered plane with a payload capacity of 1,000 kg. If not by plane, the area can only be reached by walking one day and one night from the nearest neighboring district. The nearest market can only be reached the same way. In addition, the security issue of being an Armed Criminal Group (KKB) area is also the biggest challenge.
Partnering with the Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKII) Church Region 2, Central Papua, which has a chassis office near the affected district, WVI determined to distribute aid to the affected people. A total of 150 shelter kits and 150 food packages have been received by 198 children and 355 adults. "When we delivered the aid, there were many people from the affected districts waiting near the airplane runway. They were very grateful and thankful to the WVI team for helping and supplying this aid," said Mr. Yokius, a representative of GKII Region 2 who helped deliver the aid packages from Timika to the affected districts.
"In our opinion, this humanitarian assistance is very important because there are many of our citizens who need to get help from this drought disaster because of crop failure," said Mr. Yotinu, Secretary of the GKII Region 2 Synod. The same thing was also conveyed by Mr. Yokius, "Our church members are experiencing a disaster, so we also take part in distributing this assistance,".
With the condition of children and communities who have absolutely no access to health services, education, markets, and are in unsafe conditions, the Church is the only institution that can distribute aid properly and on target. "If this happens again, GKII still exists and is willing to work with WVI to provide assistance to our people in the affected areas," concluded Mr. Yotinu.
According to GKII Region 2 monitoring, by the end of September 2023, the community had begun to replant even though they were still occasionally hit by hail. During the process of waiting for the harvest, children and communities can utilize food aid distributed by WVI, the government, and other humanitarian agencies.
BPBD Puncak Regency stated that this condition is not just a one-time or two-time occurrence, but rather a cycle. Therefore, stakeholders in Puncak Regency also need to start implementing early warning systems and anticipatory actions so that the impact of this cycle can be better managed. Especially because the affected areas are very difficult to reach and do not have adequate facilities.
For this reason, in addition to distributing aid, WVI and GKII also held anticipatory action workshops on September 26-27, 2023. In collaboration with BPBD Puncak Regency and BMKG in Timika, WVI facilitated a workshop on drought and extreme weather anticipation. Through this activity, stakeholders have agreed on an early warning system for disasters due to extreme weather. With a coordinated early warning system, stakeholders can immediately determine the right and fast steps so that the impact on children and communities can be minimized.
Children in disaster-prone and conflict-prone areas live in very poor conditions. Even just to survive is very difficult. WVI tries to reach children and communities in these areas through humanitarian assistance and community development programs. What WVI and partners are doing in Puncak Regency is one example of the struggle to reach the most vulnerable children. We hope that every child, even in the most remote and underdeveloped areas, can feel hope.
Author: Mariana Kurniawati (Communication Executive)