PNG govt works to end Manam Island resettlement crisis

Manam Volcano in Papua New Guinea's Madang province. Photo: AFP

IN an effort to resolve the Manam resettlement crisis, Papua New Guinea’s government is determined to win back the trust of the islanders.

It’s been 15 years since Manam islanders had to resettle on PNG’s mainland due to volcanic activity on their island.

There’s been a range of problems around the resettlement, including disputes over land and tensions between the islanders and locals.

A spokeswoman with the Inter Government Relations Ministry, Kessy Sawang, said a consultation process involving the islanders, host communities and provincial administrators would be conducted.

“The people of Manam have lost trust in the government system, trust in leaders,” Ms Sawang said.

“Because they have been suffering for so long, we need to establish that element of trust.”

The consultation is the first step towards resolving the Manam resettlement crisis, she said.

Sumkar MP Chris Nangoi has criticised the government over lingering problems around Manam resettlement, saying it is becoming a social problem for local landowners.

Houses have been torched and in one incident a settler was caught stealing, was hospitalised and later died, he said.

Mr Nangoi has suggested relocation of a care centre for Manam Islanders as an option for government.

Former MP Ken Fairweather has been appointed to head the restoration authority overseeing the consultation process.

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