On January 08, 2019 Chairman of Manam Resettlement Authority Ken Fairweather held discussions with the Minister for Inter Government Relations Hon. Kevin Isifu, MP on way forward for the resettlement program.
As per expert reports, Manam Island is now uninhabitable. The frequency of the volcanic eruptions has increased and it is a health hazard for human beings to live there. Manam is actually a volcano, thus people can’t live on a volcano.
The Board of the MRA will adopt the feasibility studies, research and work previously done by the Madang PMU and the Ramu Development Foundation, led by Dr. Boga Figa.
The number one priority now is securing land and building necessary infrastructure for the resettlement.
Nubia Plantation shall be the hub of the resettlement program. The plantation is said to be purchased from the Catholic Archdiocese of Wewak by the National Government in the past for Manam Resettlement Program. Research will be conducted into that. If the traditional landowners have to be settled, the Chairman says it shall be done. The property must be transferred to MRA immediately thereafter for the resettlement.
The land at Andarum shall also be acquired by the State for the MRA resettlement purpose. A road linking Nubia and Andarum is a priority. Andarum shall serve as the economic hub.
Review shall also be made into the ownership of Potsdam, Mangem and Asuramba, with the aim of transferring the ownership to MRA. Again, Chairman says the traditional landowners’ issues will be resolved.
Minister Isifu pledged his support to liaise with his counterpart Lands Minister to ensure all possible land is secured by MRA as a matter of priority.
The people who have nowhere else to go and have returned to the Island are the people of Baliau and Dugulava. They suffer the most and are in need immediate relief assistance as the volcanic activity continues.
The MRA will concentrate on the long-term issues above. The immediate relief assistance for the affected people is left to the Bogia DDA, National and Provincial Disaster Offices and the Madang Provincial Administration.
Minister also indicated that a Ward Record update shall also be carried out by the DPLGA and Bogia DDA for all the Wards in Iabu LLG, Manam Island. This statistic is critical for planning and the resettlement program.