18 Jan 2006

Compromise reached in care of PNG's Manam Island evacuees

4:17 pm on 18 January 2006

A compromise has been reached in Papua New Guinea with traditional owners of the land that the Manam Island care centres are on.

Manam Islanders were evacuated to several centres in Madang where most still remain, after the island's volcano erupted in October 2004.

But traditional landowners object to the way the government has been using their land.

The Chairman of the Manam Humanitarian Committee, Sir Arnold Amet, says the government has proposed an interim arrangement.

"Certain minimal portions of the plantation land would be surveyed and allow the islanders to spread the homesteads and to be able to garden minimally whilst the balance of the plantations may then be allowed traditional landowners."

Sir Arnold says while the government hasn't officially declared the island safe some people are returning to Manam Island at their own risk, to view their properties.