Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin stated on Wednesday that the government is currently exploring alternative ways to address constraints hampering aid delivery to drought and extreme weather victims in Central Papua.

"We are currently looking for a solution to overcome constraints hindering the distribution process to the region," he remarked in Jakarta.

Amin made the statement after chairing a coordination meeting on the handling of drought and famine cases in the province's Puncak District.

"Today's meeting aimed to evaluate the condition in Central Papua, especially in the Agadugume and Lambewi regions, where several people died due to diarrhea and extreme weather conditions that have hit the regions," he noted.

Puncak District has been experiencing drought, causing crops to fail to grow and local residents to barely get access to clean water. Moreover, five adults and one infant passed away allegedly due to diarrhea and dehydration during the drought.

"In response, we have set a one-week emergency response period. We have agreed to extend the period for another week. Then, we will evaluate it again," he pointed out.

The government is currently striving to tackle various obstacles during the ongoing process of relief aid distribution to the two regions.

"We have prepared all the required logistics. However, we are facing constraints from the weather conditions and also difficult terrain in the regions, forcing us to carry (the logistics) on our shoulders. Those are the problems," he explained.

Apart from discussing the aid distribution process, the meeting also served as a forum for deliberating on ways to deal with health problems affecting communities in the two regions.

"In order to handle health issues, we are prioritizing those belonging to vulnerable groups, including the elderly and children. I have also called for anticipatory measures to prevent similar cases from occurring in other regions," he noted.

Amin also affirmed that the government, along with other parties, including the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), would immediately expedite the aid distribution process when the weather improves.

"The only way to distribute (the aid) is to carry it on shoulders during bad weather. However, we will be ready to distribute the aid when the weather gets better," he elaborated.

The meeting on Wednesday was attended by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD, TNI Commander Admiral Yudo Margono, and National Police's Deputy Chief Commissioner General Agus Adrianto.

The General Secretary of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Rustian and the Director of Supply Chain Public Service of the state-owned logistics firm Bulog, Mokhammad Suyamto, also joined the meeting.

Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Cultural Affairs (PMK) Muhadjir Effendy visited the regions early Wednesday to hand over assistance in the form of food, milk, and basic necessities.

The drought-hit regions are expected to receive foldable tents, blankets, mattresses, foldable beds, clothing, power generators, and rice.

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Translator: Desca Lidya, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Anton Santoso
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