Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government is striving to improve food aid delivery to areas affected by natural disasters in Puncak District, Central Papua Province, including by repairing airports and building food warehouses.

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, stated that the government was revamping the airfield in Agandugume Sub-district, Puncak District, to facilitate food aid delivery.

The government has also extended the runway for the airport in Sinak Sub-district, Puncak District, to accommodate Hercules aircraft that bring food aid and building materials.

"Sinak Airport can reach more areas, including those outside Puncak District, including Puncak Jaya, Lani Jaya, and Intan Jaya," the minister remarked at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, Monday.

He noted that repairs at Sinak Airport are targeted to be completed within three months.

After airport renovation, the government will improve land infrastructure to expedite and shorten the delivery of aid to various areas in Central Papua, Effendy added.

"If the land infrastructure from Sinak to the capital city of Puncak Jaya District and to Agandugume, which is in the valley area, is finished, then all goods can be transported via land and do not need small caravan aircraft," he explained.

In accordance with instructions from President Joko Widodo, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) also built a food warehouse in Puncak District to support the distribution of food aid to disaster-affected areas.

"President Jokowi agreed that later there would be a permanent deployment of security forces and static troops there. Maybe through territorial guides, such as the Sub-district Military Command (Koramil) or the Police," he stated.

After repairing the infrastructure and placing permanent security officers, the minister remarked that the budget used to send aid, which reached Rp35 million for one flight, can be saved.

Earlier, the BNPB noted that crop failures that had occurred due to prolonged drought accompanied by extremely cold weather in the sub-districts of Agandugume and Lambewi in Puncak District hindered the residents from getting food supply since June 3, 2023.

"The drought has also caused local residents to face difficulty in getting clean water that has resulted in the deaths of six residents, consisting of five adults and one baby, due to diarrhea and dehydration," BNPB Head of Disaster Data, Information, and Communication Center Abdul Muhari remarked.

Minister Effendy then noted that the central government has sent food aid to areas affected by famine in the Puncak District area.

According to the minister, the government is also reviewing land conditions affected by the disaster and ensuring that the land can be used to plant tubers and vegetables during this season.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa P, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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