Warning of more deaths if medical care isn't improved on Manus
Refugee advocates are warn that people will die if more isn't done to improve medical care at the detention centre on Manus Island.
Refugee advocates and doctors are warning that people will die if more isn't done to improve medical care at Australia's asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
Hundreds of asylum seekers have entered an eighth day of protest at the camp, with dozens of people having to be treated for dehydration and self-harm.
A temporary treatment facility has had to be set up because the centre's main medical centre was overwhelmed.
Jamie Tahana reports.
734 people are reported to be still on hunger strike at the centre in protest at conditions and the fact that despite two years in the camp, no asylum seekers have been resettled. The spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul, says the protesters health is deteriorating and dozens of people have collapsed from dehydration. Incidents of self-harm are also ever-present at the centre, with 2 people receiving treatment after swallowing razor blades. He says medical facilities are overwhelmed, and promised reinforcements haven't arrived.
IAN RINTOUL: "They've set a makeshift field medical centre, they've converted a kitchen into a medical centre and yes, they're obviously overwhelmed, people are left lying on the ground outside the tent that they're using. So there's a very dangerous medical situation on Manus, the medical staff had been promised reinforcements last week but no one's arrived."
A Sydney-based doctor and convener of the advocacy group Doctors for Refugees, Dr Barri Phatarfod, says medical facilities at Manus are inadequate, as seen by the death of 24-year-old Hamid Kehazaei in September. Mr Kehazaei died in a Brisbane Hospital after he was medivacced from Manus Island after he developed septicaemia in a cut foot. Dr Phatarfod says that death was entirely preventable, and she has grave concerns about the current hunger strikes.
BARRI PHATARFOD"Now we don't know how quickly these people are going to deteriorate because clearly three or four doctors are not able to measure the blood pressure, temperature, weight, and urine output of 700 people. So it's an absolute disaster, we could easily have fatalities out of this and it will all be on the government's hands."
Meanwhile, at least 50 asylum seekers remain in a prison in the provincial capital, Lorengau after security guards cleared a blockade in the camp's Oscar compound on Monday. PNG Police didn't respond to requests for comment by deadline, and it's not known whether they've been charged. Australia's immigration minister, Peter Dutton, has praised PNG authorities for their response to the blockade, admitting a degree of force was used to enter the compound.
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