The recently-appointed Chairman of Manam Resettlement Authority (MRA) Ken Fairweather is keen on pursuing practical solutions for the permanent resettlement and humanitarian issues faced by the displaced Manam people and their host communities.
The practical interventions are urgently needed for:
- Relief efforts for people on the island affected by the two recent eruptions; and
- Permanent resettlement.
Since the MRA is yet to be established, the relief efforts will be undertaken by the National Disaster Office, in partnership with Bogia District Development Authority (DDA) and the Madang Provincial Administration.
The Chairman’s focus will be on establishing the institution and looking at long-term strategies for permanent resettlement and its sustainability.
Some of the key activities and functions of the MRA as stated in the Manam Resettlement Authority Act 2016, particularly assisting displaced persons returning to the return island is not practical.
In his recent media statement, the Chairman stated that the island is now uninhabitable. The unpredictable active volcano is a health hazard for human beings due to its continuous eruptions and the emissions of poisonous gas.
Manam is also a small island with a big population who are living at Care Centres. The practical solution is to permanently resettle the entire population elsewhere.
Whilst the Madang Provincial Government has proposed land inland inland Anduram, Mr. Fairweather also wants to pursue the option of what can be done with the plantation lands the people are already living on, including the Nubia Plantation.
A Review authorised by the Minister for Inter Government Relations will also review the National Government’s purchase of the Nubia Plantation from the Catholic Archdiocese of Wewak for the Manam Resettlement Program.
Dialogue, understanding and partnerships with the affected people and their host communities, the Provincial Government, National Government, NGOs and Churches are needed to address the complex issues.