Government to Build Clean Water, Sanitation in Asmat, Papua

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  • A family helps to care for a sick child being treated at the Regional General Hospital (RSUD) in Agats, Asmat District, after the government dispatched military and medical personnel to the remote region of Papua to combat malnutrition and measles, Indonesia January 22, 2018. Meanwhile, a health official in remote Asmat district said the death toll from a measles outbreak and malnutrition since September has risen to 70 people. The latest two victims were children who died Saturday in the state-run hospital in Agats, the main town of Asmat. Antara Foto/M Agung Rajasa/ via REUTERS

    A family helps to care for a sick child being treated at the Regional General Hospital (RSUD) in Agats, Asmat District, after the government dispatched military and medical personnel to the remote region of Papua to combat malnutrition and measles, Indonesia January 22, 2018. Meanwhile, a health official in remote Asmat district said the death toll from a measles outbreak and malnutrition since September has risen to 70 people. The latest two victims were children who died Saturday in the state-run hospital in Agats, the main town of Asmat. Antara Foto/M Agung Rajasa/ via REUTERS

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Public Housing and Public Works (PUPR) Ministry will prioritize the development of clean water infrastructure and sanitation to improve the quality of life of Asmat residents in Papua. This is done following observations in six districts of Asmat.

    “Drinking water infrastructure and sanitation are urgently needed. Due to the highly-cost of living in Papua, it will minimally cost three-times more than if we construct it in other places. But we must build it,” Bina Marga General Director Arie Setiadi Moerwanto said in a press release on Thursday, February 8.

    Read: Govt Devises Plan for Papua Malnutrition Measles Outbreak

    Arie explained that Asmat residents found the difficulty to get clean water due to the tidal swamp land in the area. “It’s difficult to get clean water due to its average 200-meter sedimentation. They have wells, but the water’s briny,” he said.

    Arie revealed that Agats District has actually a water treatment plant (IPA) with a 10 liter per second capacity. But it is insufficient since it can only provide for a third of Agats residents that amount to 30,000 lives. Even with the IPA, the water it produces is still brown colored.

    Read: TNI Personnel Sent to Papua to Help Fight Health Crisis

    The PUPR Ministry will also build rainwater reservoirs that can be used during a drought or dry season. “Rain intensity here is very high and has also become the main source of clean water. However, the challenge is rainwater lacks the minerals,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the PUPR Ministry’s Director of Integrated Settlement Infrastructure Dwityo Akoro Soeranto said that the IPA and sanitation development in Papua will be conducted under a community-based water supply and sanitation program (Pansimas).

    ANDITA RAHMA