by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
Lae’s Tent City residents say the suburb’s planned model should be used in other parts of the country.
The area was planned after Papua New Guineans were displaced during the Bumbu River floods in 1983, but today, amidst Lae’s high rental costs, more people are moving out to settle in Tent City. It is the same story in every other major town and city around the country.
Jolie Wangi was one of the first settlers who came to Tent City after the 1983 floods displaced him from the Bumbu settlement.
“I moved when the Bumbu flooded; they planned this area for us,” says Wangi.
The Tent City area was planned for resettlement today. Disputes are easily resolved, with troublemakers handed over to police. The area has become a small village, where family units play a viable part in developing the whole community. This planned resettlement area may be one of the safest in Lae City.
Resident Desina Malkel says women and girls feel safe in the area.
Planned settlements like Tent City have worked; residents have been able to build homes to rent out to middle-income earning Papua New Guineans. Tent City could be a model someone in authority could consider and act upon.
Yesterday in a media conference in Port Moresby, Lands and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allen and National Planning Minister Charles Abel announced their ultimate plan to fix the housing and land problem. They plan to build homes on undeveloped land.
For residents of Tent City, they say their community should be a model taken seriously by the government.