Longer wait for marooned five

National, Normal


HOME-coming for the five stranded Papua New Guineans on Marshall Islands will be further delayed as their have been no confirmation from agents in the country whether one of the survivors who has been ill, has recovered and ready to travel home.
The International Office of Migration (IOM) in Papua New Guinea and the Foreign Affairs and Immigration Department who are facilitating the repatriation, confirmed that there was no news from the country regarding the recovery of one of the survivors who was delaying the trip home because he had not been cleared by doctors to travel.
IOM national programme officer Solomon Kantha said he had not received any information from the agent for IOM in Marshall Island because he was on holiday and would not be back after New Year.
IOM, together with National Disaster Centre had agreed to meet the cost of repatriating the New Irelanders.
“The funds are here but the delay is because we do not know whether the patient has fully recovered so that arrangements can be made to bring them home,” he said, adding that Foreign Affairs officials had not received any reports.
He said it was obvious they would not make it home for the new year but some time in January.
The five from the original eight Tabar Islanders, were lost at sea for more than two months before being rescued off Nauru and brought to Majuro, the Marshall Islands capital, on Nov 18 where they had been recovering since.
Three of the original drifters died before making it to Majuro.