28 Jan 2004

PNG squatter eviction in Madang falls short of expectation

7:50 am on 28 January 2004

A spokeswoman for the Red Cross in Madang in Papua New Guinea says men are returning back to the area to work, despite their families being repatriated to their home provinces.

This follows unplanned evictions of squatters by the provincial government and police that saw homes destroyed last year, in a bid to force people to return to their home provinces.

Maureen Hill says many men have returned to earn a living, but have to put up in inhumane living conditions.

She says thousands of evictees still remain in makeshift camps.

"There are some very sad cases around. There are people living under coconut fronds, many people living under other people's houses, people living under canvasses that were handed out by the repatriation rescue team when we first started."

Maureen Hill says there isn't an adequate health service available for people, and conditions of evictees have become dire.

She hopes a promised 125,000 US dollar contribution from the government earmarked for the repatriation will come shortly.