17 Mar 2008

Catholic church says new road in remote Western Province will made big difference for refugees

8:15 pm on 17 March 2008

The Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea has praised the Western Province Ggovernment for its plans to upgrade a jungle road.

It is to improve a 110 kilometre long dirt road in the remote province, linking the towns of Nomad and Kiunga.

The settlement of Awin, where about 2500 refugees from the Indonesian region of Papua, live on the road.

Bishop Gilles Cote and his diocese provide health, education and other services to the refugees.

The bishop says he's been calling for a path upgrade for many years and he believes the improved jungle road will make a big difference to the Papuans.

"The road is the link the people have to go to the river and take a canoe to come to Kiunga to sell their vegetables or other products to earn cash to pay school fees, to buy salt, clothes and so forth. So it's vital to their life."

Bishop Gilles Cote says it will also help aid workers and visitors to better access the settlement.