PNG SQUATTER SETTLEMENTS TO BE RAZED

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Eastern Highlands authorities fear cholera

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, September 21, 2009) – Illegal settlements on State land considered as likely breeding grounds for cholera, dysentery and influenza within the Goroka Township will be destroyed.

The Eastern Highlands provincial administration, in collaboration with the police, will carry out the eviction exercise as soon as logistics are in order.

Notices have been issued to major settlements in Goroka last week by Eastern Highlands provincial administrator Munare Uyassi.

Mr. Uyassi also issued the notice last week to police, which was received by provincial police commander Chief Inspector Augustine Wampe.

Police would issue notices to the settlers before proceeding with the eviction exercise should the settlers fail to comply with the notice.

Uyassi said illegal settlers squatting on State land and living in unhygienic conditions created an environment conducive for diseases like cholera, dysentery and influenza to spread.

"There are no proper toilets, water supply and garbage disposal facilities, which endanger the lives of other people," he said.

According to the Eastern Highlands provincial lands office, the illegal settlements on State land are Genoka, Watabung Block, Dagis Block and Pawapos Block.

Other settlements listed for eviction are Banana Block, Piswara close to Minogere Police Barracks, Ston Block at Zokozoi and Mambu settlements.

The lands officer, who declined to be named, said formally recognised settlements in Goroka were Piswara and Banana Block, while others had just mushroomed illegally.

Some of the basic infrastructures established in these two settlements have deteriorated over the years and they are unfit for human use and habitation.

"There are more illegal occupants within these settlements who create an unfavourable environment conducive for cholera, dysentery, typhoid and influenza to spread," he said.

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