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Savu & Rai Jua News - Apr '05

No assistance despite hardship

The regional government has been accused of failing to respond to the hardship on Savu & Rai Jua, despite helping communities elsewhere in the province. On Thursday, March 24th 2005, two residents of Hawu Mehara (Savu Mesara), Mr. Frans Hana and Mr. Moses Kale, visited the Kupang Regional Office in an effort to persuade the regional government to include Savu & Rai Jua on their list of aid recipients. They argued that the recent crop failure caused by the drought will soon lead to food shortages and then widespread hunger.

The image on the left shows a crop of maize on Savu following months of dry weather. The image on the right shows how it would normally look. Due to insufficient rain, this year's maize crops have failed to develop mature cobs of corn.

Although the government has previously claimed to be monitoring the situation, Mr. Hana & Mr. Kale insisted that it is now time to act. Their cause was subsequently taken up by a member of the Regional Legislative Assembly, Mr. Ruben Kale Dipa, who called on the head of the Kupang Regency Office, Drs. Ibrahim Medah, to act decisively in response to the hardship facing the people of Savu & Rai Jua. He even made the astonishing proposal that people from Savu were prepared to work for the aid they received.

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Fuel prices inexplicably high

Fuel is up to 50% more expensive on Savu & Rai Jua compared with Kupang. An agent handling the sale of fuel to Savu has been asked by The Legislative Assembly in Kupang to explain why prices are so high on Savu. However, the agent merely pointed out that the locals set their own prices. Freight is obviously a factor, however the high prices may simply reflect the uncertainty of supply, which is an ongoing problem for Savu and Rai Jua.

Kerosene costs Rp.1,400/l on Savu, compared with Rp.950/l in Kupang.

Petrol costs Rp.3,200/l on Savu, compared with Rp.2,400/l in Kupang.

Diesel costs Rp.2,650/l on Savu, compared with Rp.2,100/l in Kupang.

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Copyright © 2007 Ina Tali/Francesca Von Reinhaart.

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