By ALISON ANIS
THE marooned five from New Ireland province currently in Marshall Islands may be arriving home later in the week.
An officer from the Department of Foreign Affairs is expected to travel to Marshall Islands at the end of the week to accompany the stranded Papua New Guineans on their repatriation back home, acting director for National Disaster Centre (NDC) Martin Mose confirmed yesterday.
Mr Mose said Kapi Maro, who is in charge of the Foreign Affairs Pacific branch, was expected to travel to Marshall Island on Friday and escort them on their flight to PNG following the recovery of their ill comrade who had been cleared by the doctors as fit for travel.
“Financial arrangements for the repatriation have been finalised by the department and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Papua New Guinea and the five New Irelanders could finally come home this weekend if all goes well,” Mr Mose said.
The five, from the original seven Tabar Islanders were lost at sea for more than two months before being rescued off Nauru and brought to Majuro, the capital of Marshall Islands on Nov 18 where they have been recovering since.
One of the original drifters died before making it to Majuro while the other died while being admitted at the hospital.
Mr Mose assured families and relatives of the drifters to be at ease since they will be coming home soon.