Manam Islanders in Port Moresby raise funds

by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby

Relief efforts to Manam Island need better coordination.

This statement is from a group of Manam islanders living in Port Moresby who are raising funds to assist with relief efforts on the island.

The group says they are doing their bit in raising funds for relief supplies while also planning other activities to urge the government to pass the Manam Restoration Authority Bill so that their people can be permanently resettled.

This gathering is part of a four week fundraising marathon that the Baliau people living in Port Moresby have organised to raise funds for their relatives on the island.

So far they have raised around K4,000.

They say they feel the need to do this because to them, the government’s response has taken too long and the impact has been very little.

Paul Muriki, a Baliau man who lives in Port Moresby says, “Disla liklik fundraising nau mipla wokim, em blo helpim ol papa mama, uncle, bubu blo mipla lo island because everyone else has failed us. The national government, our local member and even the provincial administration has failed.” (The fundraising we are doing now is for our relatives on the island. The national government, our local member and even the provincial administration has failed.)

Out of all the villages on Manam island that are now living in care centres in Bogia, the people of Baliau Village have all returned to the island following tribal conflict with their host community.

In terms of numbers, the recent eruption on the island has affected them more than the others.

However, they say this fundraising initiative is for all of the people who are now living on the island.

The chairman of the fundraising drive, Henry Konaka, says the word from the LLG president in Bogia is the there are a lot of uncoordinated efforts from organisation wanting to assist the people on the island.

“A concern raised by local leaders, is that agencies maybe NGOs, donor agencies are going onto the island without proper coordination, so there is a concern that maybe there is no proper coordination on relief supplies going to the island,” Konaka says.

Supporting this cause are students from the University of Papua New Guinea.

Madang Students Association President says they are planning on submitting a petition to the government to urge them to pass the bill on the MRA in the October sitting of Parliament.

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