The story of Nduga refugees: Mother died while giving birth to her child

Refugees in Nduga - Jubi/Doc

Refugees in Nduga - Jubi/Doc

Refugees in Nduga – Jubi/Doc

Nduga, Jubi – On Wednesday (9/1/2019), the sixteen-years-old Inambo Tabuni just arrived in Wamena, and she told her story in a refugee camp. 

Soldiers came by helicopter; a bomb dropped into the village.

People fled to the forest to save their lives. Many parents were separated with their children, while those who’re in refugee camp feel grateful that they can run away,” she recounted the incident occurred in the mid-December 2018.

The refugees take shelter in provisional tents and caves in the forest. They have insufficient food to eat. Men took a risk walking dozens of kilometres to reach gardens. They gathered sweet potatoes and taros from the garden in the night.

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It helped us to stand for two or three days. After that, men will return to the garden and come back in the night,” she said.

According to her refugees are distributed into small groups to a big group. “Each group contains at least ten people or more.”

She also revealed their suffering living in a refugee camp. “It seems that we are living in someone else’s place. We want to live safely in our village.”

When she arrived in Mbua from Dal, a pregnant woman Selfina Lokbere (32 years old) just came from a refugee camp, and last week Lokbere reportedly had a delivery complication. Both mother and child died.

Selfina Lokbere, who was the wife of Yakerena Umangge, reportedly gave birth to twins. Her first twin managed to be smoothly born, while the second got stuck during delivery.

The second child did not come out, so the mother tried to pull her baby out, but she couldn’t make it.”

Meanwhile, Elinaus Tabuni, a member of the health care team of Papua Province in Mbua Sub-district, Nduga Regency, confirmed the incident that occurred on 2 January 2019.  

This woman just arrived from the forest and gave birth. She had only a child who died with her during the delivery,” he said.

Further, the congregation of Imanuel Church of Mbua takes care of the funeral of Selfina Lokbere and her child, while the medical team checked the rest of her family. It turns out that she has other six children who are still alive. They are Esok Umangge (7), Londice Umangge (8), Ason Umangge (9), Jemison Umangge (3), and the twins Rinthi dan Rentha (2,6). Currently, the twins of the late Selfina Lokbere, Rinthi and Rentha then raised by Gelipa Tabuni, their mother’s relative.

In the meantime, locals said the cause of her death is because she didn’t eat and drink well while in the refugee camp, whereas the medical team thought it’s possibly because of her giving birth too often.

Meanwhile, related to Nduga refugees, the Secretary of Youth Church Solidarity Alfonsa Wayap said three children were reported dead in refugee camp due to malnutrition. The children Ubugina Unue (2), Bugun Unue (1) and Raina Kogoya (5) died in Yal Sub-district.

The local also said there are ten pregnant women among them. “Some already give births while some are waiting for the due date.” (*)

 

Reporter: Benny Mawel

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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