Another Manam? The forced migration of the population of Manam island, Papua New Guinea, due to volcanic eruptions 2004-2005
In the framework of the European Union–funded Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP) project, this report analyses the case of Manam islanders in Papua New Guinea. Approximately 9,000 people were evacuated to the north coast of Madang Province due to volcanic activity (2004-2005). Since then, the Government of Papua New Guinea aims at finding a durable solution for the displaced persons.
The report recommends the following:
- It is crucial that the Government of Papua New Guinea pass an appropriate Manam Resettlement Authority (MRA) bill as soon as possible.
- More clarity is required over who is responsible for both resettlement and the status and management of the care centres.
- Greater involvement of local leaders through the Iabu and Yawar Local Level Government Councils, and through the kukurais of Manam, should be ensured throughout discussions and implementation of the resettlement processes.
- All potential resettlement options should be reconsidered, including Manam and Awar/Nubia.
- The Madang Provincial Government must provide basic rehabilitation for Manam Island.
- The Madang Provincial Government, in conjunction with the National Disaster Centre, must develop a plan for the following:
- mass evacuation in natural disasters;
- immediate relocation that would meet the needs of Manam and the province’s several volcanic islands such as Karkar.
- The Madang Provincial Government should ensure that proper emergency kits exist in all villages on Manam and also at other volcanic sites.
- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Madang team should collect and assemble basic data on the number, composition and present location of households to be resettled, in both the care centres and on Manam.
- The Madang Provincial Government has recognised that more needs to be done for the welfare of people in the care centres.
- The health needs of the Manam islanders need to be addressed with extra attention paid to getting doctors and medical supplies to the care centres, and the host villages.
- Alongside the Madang Provincial Government, the IOM Madang team should evaluate and organise the rehabilitation of water supplies and other basic services in the care centres and in the host villages.
- Key staff from the Madang Provincial Government and local Manam leaders should make a study visit to Kokopo to examine the experience of the Gazelle Restoration Authority.
- The Madang Provincial Government and the Manam Resettlement Programme should oversee the provision of microfinance for Manam islanders who want loans for boats and outboards.
- It is crucial for the Madang Provincial Government to liaise with the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO) to ensure that proper volcanological monitoring is in place.
- The Government of Papua New Guinea should make provision for Manam settlers to be given priority in the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer and the Australian Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme short-term agricultural workers schemes.
- It would be valuable for the Madang Provincial Government Public Works Department to hire local youth, whether from care centres or host villages, to work on the main coastal road.
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