The President SBY’s Attention to Papua

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has officiated several projects in West Papua province during his visit on 22 January 2009 to Mansinam Island in Doreh Bay, just off the coast from the provincial capital Manokwari. Mansinam Island was selected for Thursday’s ceremony because Papuans from both West Papua and Papua provinces consider it a sacred island that spawned Papuan civilization. That date is celebrated as Feb. 5, 1855, when German missionaries C.W. Ottow and J.G. Geissler landed on the island and began introducing the natives to Christianity. The president’s presence is historical, because of the six presidents who have led the country, SBY is the first president to visit Mansinam. “This is truly an extraordinary honor for Papuans,” according to Papuan old guy.

Before arriving in Manokwari on Thursday, Yudhoyono and his entourage spent a night in Sorong on 21 January 2009 and toured areas affected by an earthquake that rocked the province on Jan. 4, 2009. Yudhoyono is also scheduled to hand over post-quake aid to West Papua Governor Abraham O. Atururi. The aid includes Rp 3 billion (US$266,667) in funding, assistance for the rehabilitation of 2,009 severely damaged homes, 2,124 moderately damaged homes, and highway repairs in Manokwari and Sorong. On Sunday, January 4, a series of powerful earthquakes measuring 7.2 and 7.6 on the Richter scale jolted the districts of Manokwari and Sorong in West Papua, leaving at least four residents injured and a number of buildings including two hotels and West Papua governor`s office damaged.

Thank you Pak Presiden for your visit. We, Papuan, look forward to see you again here.

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