29 Dec 2003

PNG Red Cross organises transportation for evicted settlers

1:39 pm on 29 December 2003

The Red Cross in the Papua New Guinea province of Madang says they have now organised barges and coastal ships to begin transporting displaced settlers back to their home provinces.

Police burnt down the houses of legal and illegal settlers in order to force nearly 12,000 people to return to their home provinces.

Maureen Hill, who is the chairperson of the Red Cross in Madang, says it's been quite a slow process given it's the holidays.

She says the logistics of organising transportation for so many people has not been easy and she is worried about what will happen to them .

"What is going to happen to these people when they go back to their villages? You know, has anything been done about helping them there? You know, these are papua new guineans, they're not people from another country. It should be the responsibilty of the government."

Ms Hill says last week the provincial governor gave them eight days to get people moving out, and the operation so far has been reliant on people's good will.

She says there is still no sign of the supposed 124,000 U.S. dollars that the government was giving towards the resettlement operation.