Settlers await ‘promised’ K3 million

Lae News, Normal

The National – Thursday, December 23, 2010

THE government’s allocation of K3 million to the Bulolo care centre has not gone through.
Only the Morobe government’s allocation of K1 million  has been received and utilised to maintain the centre and its residents.
Settlers at the centre said they had suffered for eight months since the fighting with the locals.
They said the only help they received was from the Bulolo district administration and the PNG Forest Products Company.
They said they had been visited by delegations from the prime minister’s office and heard about the funding.
But the people have yet to see  the money.
“Had the funding come through, we would have been in our villages by now,” a settler, who only wanted to be named as Thomas, said.
They said when there was no food they survived on their little money that they earned from selling betelnuts and cigarettes.
Felix Muro from Angoram, East Sepik, and an employee for PNG Forest Products, said that he was forced to resign from his job because he was threatened by the locals at Bulolo.
He now finds it difficult to feed his children and the situation has affected their education also.
“Their education has also suffered.
“Education is important to me and my children but our life is under threat and also there is no money to pay for the children’s  school fees,” he said.
All children living in the centre have not done their Grade 8 national exams because of threats by locals.
Another Sepik, Edwin Konie, said that there had been two deaths due to the poor  health conditions.
“One died of chicken pox which they believe may have been acquired from the saw dust used in their tents to cover the ground and the other died of cold due to direct exposure to the cold weather with no proper materials to keep warm,” Konie said.