The National- Monday, January 10, 2011
By JAYNE SAFIHAO
MADANG’S Bogia district administration is having funding and logistical problems to effectively carry out relief and evacuation exercises for affected Manam islanders.
District administrator Paul Akuram revealed these concerns last week when giving an update of the situation at the Postdam care centre where displaced islanders are currently being assisted.
Akuram said they needed more than one vehicle to do all the work that needed to be done.
Fuel and zoom were also low and the four drums donated by businessman Sir Peter Barter had already been used up.
He also mentioned that the bales of rice and cartons of tinned fish “borrowed” from the Chinese shop at Bogia station for the 300-plus families from affected Dugulava and Waia villages were not enough.
“These families need more food, mosquito nets, drinking containers and canvases or tents to make makeshift shelters.”
Akuram added that immediate counter funding by the government was also needed as donor agencies were willing to help but needed the government to act first.
Meanwhile, negotiations for land for resettlement, which began last year between the district administration and the landowners, had identified land in the Andarum area.
Landowners have given their consent on their terms, with the only problem being the construction of a proper road into the area.
As a short-term measure, he said, the people would have to be coaxed into going back to the island on the Bieng up to Andale side where, they claimed it was safer until a permanent resettlement solution was reached.
Bogia community leader Joe Viaken expressed his disappointment at MP John Hickey and the failed promises by successive governments concerning the Manam-Bogia issue.
“People are still arriving at Postdam and Bogia station, those undecided will be dictated by the behaviour of the volcanoe while others flatly refuse to come due to past experiences with the mainlanders.”