The National- Tuesday, January 18, 2011
By STEPHANIE ELIZAH
MADANG disaster committee has earmarked K178, 843 to assisting close to 4,000 Manam islanders still living on the island and under threat of increased seismic activities.
The money will go towards the purchase of rice, flour and cooking oil from a local wholesale supplier while shelter and water containers would be brought in from outside due to limited stocks in the province.
Provincial disaster office has announced that seismic level of activities alert on
the island had been down-graded to stage two with villages southwest of the island facing heavy dust fall blown by southwesterly winds at present.
The disaster officer also continued to caution that the entire island was at high-risk level and people should be ready to be evacuated.
Provincial disaster office acting director Norman Philemon said the priority was with villages southwest of the island, including Kolang, Boakure, Abaria, Warisi, Madauri, Waia, Zogari, Yassa and the people of Dugulaba who were forced to return to Manam Island after the crisis at Tobenam unofficial care centre last year.
Plans were to relocate these communities to Bieng Catholic mission station near Baliau and Boda villages, for the next three months while the situation was monitored.
“These villages will not be transported to the mainland because of limited land spacing and the clashes and conflicts which still exist between the landowners and Manam islanders.”
He added that a meeting held between the provincial authorities and clan leaders or Kukurais of the island on Jan 8 at Baliau village to deliberate on the relocation plan confirmed the leader’s willingness to assist as opposed to recent media statements that the Kukurais were against assisting.
“The leaders were very cooperative and expressed sentiments over the plight of their people.
“They assured us that as is their system of governance, the people affected are their relatives and they would take care of them,” Philemon said.