Dear Editor,

I am deeply concerned with the lack of empathy coming from various media in the Pacific region. As far as I have been watching, there is very little to no coverage about the current flash flood disaster happening in West Papua, Indonesia.

On March 20, Jayapura (West Papua) Regent Mathius Awaitaouw declared a 14-day emergency period, due to recent destructive floods, that began on March 16 and is to last until March 29. The flood took place in March 16, and its aftermath has been detrimental towards people’s lives.

At least 11,331 are affected, 104 people died and the number keeps on increasing as new bodies are identified. Up to this point 79 people are missing, not including the ones who have not been reported. More than USD 50,000 of donations are collected, but the amount could have been much higher, had the international media gave more time and coverage, especially to the Pacific audience.

West Papua is not only about the conflict, but also everything that happens between and to the humans living inside it. Considering Daily Post Vanuatu is one of the sources of information on West Papua updates, it’s very unfortunate that more articles and video contents are made when it is connected to politics and rebellion issues, but not when it comes to natural disasters and the real suffering which Papuan people are going through right now.

The Social Affairs Ministry announced on Friday that 11,331 people are taking refuge at 29 evacuation centers across Jayapura regency. While the weather is predicted to still be heavily raining for days to come, I believe it would be fair for Daily Post Vanuatu to make more effort to give coverage, or direct reports on the flood in Jayapura.

I believe that the media should raise awareness around the world about humanely significant issues, and West Papua flood disaster is no exception.

John Eastwood

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