Papua New Guinea Funds Resettlement Of 20,000 Manam Islanders

Displaced by volcano in 2004, group have awaited permanent resettlement for years

By Rosalyn Albaniel

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 16, 2016) – The National Government has given K10 million [US$3.1 million] to progress the much anticipated resettlement exercise for the 20,000-plus Manam Islanders in Madang.

Madang provincial administrator Daniel Aloi confirmed this yesterday.

[PIR editor's note: Manam Islanders were displaced from their home island due to a volcanic eruption in 2004 and have been in awaiting permanent resettlement, ever since.]

Mr Aloi said the Madang government and provincial administration, which had taken carriage of this issue, had hoped for a minimum of K15 million-K20million [US$4.6 million-US$6.2 million] in the 2017 Budget.

However, he said K10 million [US$3.1 million] was better than nothing at all. The more than 20,000 islanders who are residing on Manam Island as well as in the three care-centres of Potsdam and Asuramba in Bogia district and Mangem (Sumkar) can now be relocated to Andarum. Andarum is a remote area in the hinterlands of Bogia district which has also for years missed out on basic yet vital government services and this impact project was set to not just benefit the Manam Islanders but the people of Bogia and Madang as a whole.

Mr Aloi said the K10 million would assist in moving the Manam agenda forward and he had thanked the National Government for it.

He said there were two things needing immediate attention and they were the opening of the Manam Resettlement Program headquarters in Bogia, which the PM is expected to officiate at.

Secondly, the agreement signing with the Gazelle Restoration Authority (GRA) of East New Britain.

He explained that following the recent trip that Madang Governor Jim Kas and a team had undertaken to ENB that discussion had been entered into.

This would see GRA, which had the experience and expertise in relocation, become the sister entity to the MRP to drive this exercise in Madang.

He had also alluded to the fact that the Madang government and administration would also be looking at optimising an opportunity which would exist in the province involving the use of soldiers from the PNG Defence Force engineering battalion.

PNG Post-Courier
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