Savu & Rai Jua News - Aug '05

Malnutrition strikes children

There have been reports of malnutrition among children on the Savu Islands. The regional government has neglected its duty to resolve the food shortage, despite receiving earnest requests for assistance and indicating that it was monitoring the situation. The food shortage resulted from crop failure, due to the drought.

Children who are under-nourished are more prone to gastro-intestinal diseases and a vicious cycle ensues. When outbreaks occur, the islands' medical services are stretched and lives have been lost to ordinarily treatable conditions. The situation is further complicated at this time of year by rough seas, which disrupt ferries and thereby frustrate efforts to transport the sick to hospitals in Kupang.

Assault in Rae Ñale Village

A young man confessed in Kupang Court to attacking a primary school student at his home in Rae Ñale (Raenyale) Village in Western Savu on the 22nd of May. Melkianus Ballo suffered from suffocation as a result of the attack and was rushed to a clinic in Heb'a (Seba). The defendant insists that he only kicked Melkianus once in the chest and that his actions were provoked. He claims that Melkianus tried to run him off the road with a motorcycle in the village about an hour beforehand. He explained that he went to Melkianus' to demand an explanation, but Melkianus denied any wrongdoing and swore at him. Melkianus told the Court that he had not even been riding a motorcycle at the time. The verdict is yet to be passed.

Overfishing threatens fish stocks . . . and fishermen!

According to the head of Citra Mandiri (Dept. of Fisheries) in Kupang, the present rate of fishing in the Savu Sea will noticably deplete fish stocks within a couple of years. Island communities depend on the sea for the food it provides. By contrast, entrepreneurs are only interested in the sea to the extent that it maximises their profits.

One fishing company, PT Dina Marina, clearly couldn't care less for the traditional fishermen. Its vessels trawl the Savu Sea with 22 giant nets, which catch everything in their path and damage the coral reefs that are crucial to the sea's biodiversity. However, it is not just the fishermen's livelihoods being threatened. The crews working for Dina Marina have allegedly rammed smaller vessels and even threated to blow them up with molotov cocktails if they don't get out of the way.

The government has been accused of sticking its head in the sand, ignoring the danger of overfishing and allegations of bullying. However, one fishing vessel has been seized in the Savu Sea, as it was not licensed to fish in the region. Authorities in Maumere, on the island of Flores, impounded the vessel, which is owned by a businessman from Medan in Northern Sumatera. It had two tons of catch on board.

The illegal fishing vessel seized by authorities

Fuel shortage continues

A number of factors are contributing to the ongoing fuel shortage on Savu. Firstly, the Central Government has not increased the fuel subsidy in line with the increased cost of oil on the global market. So, the state-owned oil and gas company, Pertamina, does not have the funds it needs to supply the market. Secondly, the country's capacity to refine and distribute fuel is failing to keep up with increasing consumption. Although, a tanker recently delivered 2,200 tons of diesel and 1,700 tons of petrol to Kupang, this will only meet the needs of the people in Kupang, leaving Savu high and dry.

The fuel tanker "Klawotong" docked in Kupang

"We also play football!"

A Savunese football team has been established to compete in the Kupang Region Football League. The new team is called PERSAJU, which is an acronym of Union (Indo: Persatuan) of Savu & Rai Jua. Their first match was played in Kupang against San Jose, the representative team from Ende, on Flores Island. They lost 5-nil to the more experienced team. However, despite the loss, team coach Mr. Simson Gala (far right below), was satisfied with the result, pointing out that: "The purpose of our team competing was really for the experience. We are fully aware of the limited standard we offer. We had no target, but on behalf of Rai Hawu and Rai Djua, we would like to say that on the Savu Islands, we also play football and we have football players." The team was complimented for their enthusiasm on the field.

PERSAJU football team at Oepoi Stadium, Kupang

Harbours soon to be renovated

The Regional Government has announced its intention to renovate the harbours at Heb'a (Seba) and Rai Djua later in the year. The aim is to help the islanders to travel between the two islands and also to Kupang, so trade links can develop, to benefit local producers.

Seaport at Benjoar (Rai Djua)

Harbour of Heb'a (Seba)

Accidentally shot dead by best friend

A Savunese by the name Rizal Rotu Ludji was shot dead by his best friend. The tragedy occured at the victim's home in the suburb of Fontein, Kupang, on Monday night, 11th of July. Rizal was immediately taken to Intensive Care at Kupang Public Hospital, but he passed away early next morning.

Rizal was the 5th child of Mr Melkianus Rotu Ludji and Mrs Teroci Rotu Ludji, nee Dimu. The incident is reported to have been an accident, with the family of the deceased wishing no further investigation. According to the defendant, he and the victim had been watching TV and joking about. The defendant, who is a member of Kupang Regional Police, jokingly pointed his revolver at Rizal, when it suddenly fired, hitting his friend in the head. According to a relative of the victim, "They had been like brothers and the defendant is like a son to us." Kupang Police are holding the defendant for further questioning.

Savunese man knifed in Kupang

A young Savunese man almost died as a result of a stab wound that left him lying in a pool of blood. Charles Wadu had been standing in a dark corner, talking to his girlfriend, when the defendant, who had been cutting vegetables, told him to move out of the dark. When Charles refused to comply, the defendant attacked him.

The defendant refused to apologise to his victim in Court, saying that he had been drinking strong alcohol and was furious Charles did not obey his demands. There may be more to the story, however, as Charles' girlfriend is apparently the younger sister of the defendant's girlfriend.

Copyright © 2007 Ina Tali/Francesca Von Reinhaart.


Join the mailing list to receive
occasional news updates via email

Your name

Your email address
I wish to subscribe. unsubscribe.

Add us to your favourites!