Conditions deteriorating at Manus Island centre

12:30 pm on 16 June 2016

Cost cutting is being blamed for deteriorating conditions at the Manus Island processing centre for asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea.

Thousands of Australians demand refugees not be sent back to Nauru or Manus Island, on 20 March 2016 in Melbourne.

Thousands of Australians demand refugees not be sent back to Nauru or Manus Island, on 20 March in Melbourne. Photo: Recep Sakar / ANADOLU AGENCY

Food shortages and power cuts are adding to the frustration of about 900 men sent to the centre by Australia, where detention has been ruled illegal.

The spokesperson for Australia's Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul, thinks companies contracted to provide services at the centre are reducing their costs, now that its closure is imminent.

"So they're very very concerned about spending money, how much more resources they should be putting into the place. That created a bigger problem with meals, they've now got hundreds of people lining up, sometimes waiting for an hour in the queue to get food which sometimes runs out before they can even be served."

One of those on Manus, the Kurdish Iranian journalist and asylum seeker, Behrouz Boochani, said food at the centre no longer smells safe to eat.

"Only they give us a kind of chicken and that has very bad smell and we must eat that. Only chicken, every day in lunch and dinner. For example I didn't have dinner last night because food was finished."

The Australian Immigration Department said there were currently no water or electricity restrictions, at the Manus Island centre, nor was there a shortage of food.

The PNG Immigration Authority said residents of the centre receive nutritious and culturally appropriate meals three times a day.

It said there had never been a shortage of food or drinking water at the centre.

The Authority said there had been occasional power cuts at the centre, but on each occasion power has been restored within several hours.

It said there had also been several mechanical faults with the purifying units that provide water for ablutions and showering, which resulted in residents needing to limit the length of their daily showers.

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