6 Jul 2006

Most Tuvaluans and I-Kiribati on Nauru should be repatriated by end of July

7:34 pm on 6 July 2006

Several hundred I-Kiribati and Tuvaluans and their families should be repatriated from Nauru by the end of this month.

The former Nauru phosphate company workers and their families had been stranded on the island for years waiting for outstanding wages to be paid.

That bill, around three and a half million US dollars, has been met by Taiwan, while another million dollars from Australia, New Zealand, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru and the European Union has paid the costs of shipping the families and their belongings home.

The Pacific Islands Forum is assisting with the disbursement of the funds and Secretary General, Greg Urwin, has thanked countries for their help.

A group of Tuvaluans left Nauru last week, the first of seven groups heads to Kiribati this week, with the remainder expected off the island by the end of July.