Homeless Vanessa ponders future

Members of the Second Royal Pacific Islands Regiment (Moem Barracks) led by Delta Company who represented the unit and Moem community and made donations to the displaced Murik settlers at the Somare stadium and Mengar villagers along the West Coast. – Picture courtesy of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Pacific Islands Regiment.

THIRTY-five-year-old Vanessa Baki from the Murik Lakes in Angoram district has lived much of her life at the Basis.
Basis was a stone’s throw away from Wewak town to her right and Mengar village to her left.
Like most people from area, Vanessa was going about her normal chores when she was approached by some policemen and told to take her belongings and leave Basis.
A fight had erupted between her people and the local villagers from Mengar.
“I was busy doing my normal house chores when we were told by the police to take our belongings and move out as the fight was going out of hand,” she said.
Vanessa said mothers and girls dropped everything they were doing.
They rushed into their homes and grabbed whatever they could, hurried out and ran for their lives.
An emotional Vanessa said: “We crossed to the other side, stood helplessly and watched our homes burnt in front of our eyes.
“We cried as we watched, most of us were born at Basis.”
Vanessa lost almost all her properties.
“We lost all of our valuables like a generator and solar panels because the attack was so fast and we could not get everything,” she said.
Many people had been displaced following the clash between the settlers from Murik Lakes and the Mengar villagers.
Vanessa said she and others were seeking shelter at several sites around Wewak town. She was more concerned about school-aged children who had been affected by the situation. She said that the source of earning their living was now gone.
“Most of us women sustain our living from the sea.
“Our fathers and brothers go out fishing and come back with fish which we sell to support our everyday needs. Now it’s all gone,” she said. “We do not know how we will survive without a home.”
The East Sepik authorities had begun the process to have the Murik settlers relocated to Angoram.