Hopes for more resettlement options for Bikini Islanders

5:28 pm on 18 July 2016

More resettlement options could soon be available to Bikini Islanders in the Marshall Islands if new legislation, governing the use of resettlement funds, is passed in the US.

The "Baker" explosion, part of Operation Crossroads, a nuclear weapon test by the United States military at Bikini Atoll, Micronesia, on 25 July 1946.

The "Baker" explosion, part of Operation Crossroads, a nuclear weapon test by the United States military at Bikini Atoll, Micronesia, on 25 July 1946. Photo: PD

US Interior Assistant Secretary, Esther Kia'aina is planning a visit to Kili and Ejit islands next month to discuss resettlement plans with Bikini Islanders.

Ms Kia'aina is the top US government official overseeing policy in US affiliated islands in the Pacific.

She said the elimination of restrictions on the use of Bikini Resettlement Funds, which are currently limited to use within the Marshall Islands, would allow the people of Bikini more options for relocation.

The proposed legislation was a response to resolutions from the Bikini Council last year seeking help for resettlement from the US because of ongoing ocean flooding of the Kili and Ejit communities.

The Interior Assistant Secretary said she intended to meet with the Bikini community to talk about their plans for the future. With the aim of developing a resettlement plan before the end of the year.

US Nuclear weapons testing on the Bikini Atoll between 1946 and 1958 left it uninhabitable and saw displaced Bikini islanders moved originally to Rongerik Atoll and later to Kili and Ejit where they have lived for the past few decades.

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