SINKING DUKE OF YORK ISLANDERS SEEK MOVE

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DUKE OF YORK, Papua New Guinea (January 31, 2000 – The National)---Duke of York islanders in East New Britain Province are appealing to their local MP to acquire several plantations for resettlement purposes.

Islander Tom Vevo is suggesting the acquisition of the rundown Putput and Induna plantations on the south coast of Sinivit to resettle the islanders whose islands are sinking.

Mr. Vevo says he is aware that the government is awaiting reports of investigations before acting, but preliminary reports already indicate the seriousness of the matter, which should prompt leaders to start acting quickly.

He was supporting similar calls by Duke of York local level government president Leslie Maneo who claimed the islands were sinking fast and the government should quickly help them.

Mr. Vevo has also called on their local MP Rabbie Namaliu to look into establishing a rest house for the islanders in Kokopo, here they can sleep overnight while doing their marketing and other business.

He said people are sleeping on the beach and under the trees exposing themselves to danger and disturbances from criminals and drunks.

Provincial administrator Hosea Turbarat has admitted that the government was aware of the situation facing the Duke of York islanders and is prepared to put into effect contingency plans based on the official report of a fact-finding mission to the islands last year.

The report has yet to be filed.

Sir Rabbie, however, could not be contacted for comment on remarks made by Mr. Vevo.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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