MANAM ISLANDERS IMPACTED BY HEAVY ASH FALL

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Volcano evacuees repatriated to island due to violence are suffering

By Rosalyn Albaniel-Evara

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 28, 2011) – Manam islanders have reported heavy ash fall and the Madang government has been put on notice that if the situation worsens they will front up in town.

Former president of Iabu Local Level Government and community leader of Baliau village James Sukua said four villages on the island had been affected as a result of the heavy ash fall. The villages are Being, Baliau, Boda and Kuluguma villages situated on far side of the island toward the open sea.

He said his Baliau people had been repatriated from the mainland back to the island following fights with the people from mainland Bogia and should the situation grow worse, the government should look at assisting them.

He said already many children had fallen ill mainly with diarrhoea as the ash fall had affected the water holes leaving them without any fresh, clean supply of water for drinking and cooking.

He said sick adults had to travel to Bogia to get medical treatment as the health centre on Manam is closed.

She said many gardens and tree crops had already been destroyed. Mr. Sukua said space at all the care centers was very limited and therefore the community had in a meeting last week resolved that should the situation worsen, they would have no choice except to travel all the way into town where they will set up camp at the Madang Provincial Government and Administration area.

"There is no space at the care centers so that option is out. We will have no choice except to get on a boat and travel all the way into town and set up camp at the provincial government and administration area so they will attend to us," he said.

Sukua claimed government and the provincial administration to be moving too slowly to resolve the issue.

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