By Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
Nine nights of sleeping out in makeshift tents at Lae’s Igam Army Barracks gates, and the grandchildren of a deceased ex-serviceman are now suffering from suspected pneumonia.
It’s been raining for the last nine days in Lae and the families of the ex-soldiers still camped outside, Lae’s Igam Barracks are doing it tough.
The tent which houses Bertha Apu shows signs of repairs after the rain threatened to enter where they sleep.
Bertha Apu, in a previous interview, had said she wanted to go to her village before any of her family got sick.
Health problems have already risen and it has hit the most vulnerable – her grandchildren. Today they are going to the tent city health post.
It’s several kilometres away from the Barracks Clinic, but since their eviction they have decided to go there, regardless.
The four children have lost weight, and inside is the familiar long line of patients waiting for treatment.
When they see the nurse at the health post, he explains that the four children are sick. But what’s worrying the mother is her five-year-old daughter, who is the sickest.
Similar illnesses will also face other families who have moved onto land in growing settlements.
The family was part of the group of 18 families evicted from Lae’s Igam Army Barracks nine days ago when they were waiting for their fathers outstanding entitlements.
Their late father, a Bougainville veteran, died after retiring over 15 years ago, while he waited for outstanding entitlement payments.