O’Neill told to honour promise

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 21st August, 2012

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has been asked to honour his promise and re-settle the people of Manam quickly before they developed health problems associated with their water and ash-polluted air.
Former district administrator for Bogia and the man in charge of the Manam resettlement issue Paul Akuram  reminded O’Neill about the resettlement which the prime minister had promised in his election campaign.
He said yesterday that Manam was now on stage-two alert after the volcano on the island started to spew ash last week.Ima Itikarai, a volcanologist from the Rabaul Observatory, was in the province last week to install magma detectors.The detectors measure the capacity of the magma and its depth.
Akuram said the situation was one of desperation as the islanders were now looking for clean drinking water.
Worst hit areas are Bokure and Warisi villages while others such as Waia, Zogari, Iassa, Kuluguma, Kolang, Abaria, Maudari and Budua are badly affected but not smothered in ash.
“The ash flow supported by the wind has covered almost all available drinking water. We recently visited the area and they are crying out for rations and water pumps to be installed in each village, but the problem is we have no money,” he said.Akuram, a former judge, said now that the dry weather had settled in water was becoming scarce, posing serious health risks.“People need water most importantly and rations. Right now they are surviving on what they can find. It is a very sad situation. I ask the PM to come good with his promise,” he said.The PM had made an undertaking to return to the province after three months to make funding available for the Manam restoration programme.
A situation report from the Madang Disaster Office stated leaders on the island were not impressed at the snail’s pace in which the government was handling their affairs.
The disaster office has recommended that Dugulava villagers be immediately evacuated to Mangen Care Centre, with the district administration to ensure the move, that logistics and supply such as tarpaulins, canvas, water containers, fuel and relief
supplies be made available.
 and that evacuation be done based on the Rabaul Observatory’s report.