Displaced people need to be sorted


IT has been over a year since the volcano on Kadovar Island in East Sepik erupted, leaving the 600-plus inhabitants homeless.
The morning of Jan 5, 2018, changed their lives forever.
The displaced islanders are currently living at a care centre on the mainland and their future remains uncertain.
They now became statistics to the growing number of in-house refugees, or as internally displaced persons (IDPs), who often live in protracted displacement with limited access to land.
An IDP is someone who is forced to flee his or her home, but who remains within his or her country’s borders.
As of Nov 2014, at least 22,500 people were displaced in PNG as a result of conflict or natural hazard-related disasters.
Two-thirds of internally-displaced people have been displaced by natural hazards, the remainder by conflict.
In many areas, natural disasters, conflict, violence and development projects often coincide to create an environment conducive to displacement.
The majority of those displaced by conflict and disaster live in Madang and Morobe.
For Madang, it’s the Manam Islanders at the care centres.
In East Sepik, the Kadovar islanders.
We have IDPs also in Southern Highlands following the earthquakes last year.
Natural and human-induced hazards can have a tremendous impact on societies.
The impact of disasters is often particularly severe in developing countries.
Like other nations, PNG has witnessed disasters that have culminated in loss of life, property destruction and displacement of its citizens.
PNG is exposed to a variety of natural hazards, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, droughts, landslides, and floods.
In combination with social factors such as poverty, conflict and inequality, these events and processes result in frequent disasters.
Displacement in PNG appears to be protracted, with households living in temporary living situations for more than a year.
These populations are more vulnerable to development challenges as they have less access to basic services such as protection, which increases the risk of human trafficking and people smuggling.
Women and girls are especially susceptible to abuse, from both within their communities and outside.
In PNG, internal displacement has also ignited conflicts.
In a context with no policy or legislation addressing the needs of IDPs, host communities react violently to displaced populations competing for resources and land.
A report by the International Organisation for Migration, in collaboration with the Government in 2017 “Profiling internally displaced persons in Papua New Guinea”, highlighted the urgent need for a call for a collaborative effort among state and non-state actors to ensure that those affected by displacement are quick to recover, return to their normal life, and no longer have displacement-related assistance or protection needs, and can enjoy their human rights without discrimination.
While it is reassuring that lessons learnt from volcanic eruption from Rabaul and Manam do not want to be repeated in terms of resettlement, the plight of the Manam Islanders still hangs in the air.
East Sepik MPs say they do not want the Kadovar islanders to experience what is now happening with the Manam islanders – where people are still living in care centres at Bogia, many years after the volcanic eruptions because of political infighting.
Reports say a secretariat has been appointed by the Manam Resettlement Authority Act to get the ball rolling.
Nothing yet. Or Kadovar Restoration Bill. This is not the time of procrastinating appointments because of difference of opinion.
Lives of people are at stake.
Women and children have been made to suffer because leaders tasked to work together have their own interests.