TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The World Food Programme (WFP) has stated that famine conditions involving Indonesian children are very pitiable.
Every day, said Anthony Banbury, WFP's Director for Asia, it is estimated that there are 13 million children in Indonesia who are hungry.
“This number is still extremely high,” he said during an aid donation event by American food provider company, Cargill, at the office of the Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare, yesterday (10/7).
This condition, said Banbury, is highly related to poverty problems in Indonesia and a lot of families are unable to buy nutritious food.
In addition, disaster factors, such as the tsunami in Aceh and conflicts in many areas, have also influenced famine problem.
Droughts and shortages of clean water have also played roles.
“Different areas, different causes,” said Banbury.
Dipayan Bhattacharyya, Head of the WFP Analysis, Mapping, Monitoring and Crisis Evaluation Unit, who was contacted by Tempo, said that 13 million was the number resulting from the survey carried out by the Central Statistics Bureau (BPS) in 2005.
Most hunger cases happen in Eastern Indonesia including West Nusa Tenggara, Madura and Maluku.
“In Java, the number is smaller,” he said.
Conditions in Indonesia, said Dipayan, are far worse compared to Singapore and Malaysia.
In those two countries, the hunger levels are quite low.
However, Indonesia is still better compared to Cambodia and Laos.
Banburry and Dipayan said that the government has in fact already been quite serious in handling hunger problems.
The government, said Dipayan, recently tried to increase regional governments' capacity to continue monitoring hunger cases.
According to Banburry, the private sector is also needed to play a role in order to overcome hunger problems.
During the event, Cargill handed over US$3 million of aid for three years to help provide healthy food for 30,000 elementary school students in Madura and Bogor.