31 Dec 2003

The Red Cross in Madang say they are running out of cash for resettlement

2:37 pm on 31 December 2003

The Red Cross in Madang in Papua New Guinea say they are running out of money, and urgently need promised government funds to pay for transporting homeless settlers back to their provinces.

This follows the provincial government and police targeting over 12-thousand settlers in a bid to stop illegal settlers squatting on government land.

Maureen Hill says there is still no sign of the 124,000 U.S. dollars promised for the resettlement operation.

But she says the money has to appear soon to pay for coastal ships that are charging their service, by the day.

"We're saying to the shipping companies, look we've got this money coming, will you lend us your ships? So that's money has got to come or there'll be a really big problem cos we've spent that money, not all of it but a lot of it already on transport."

Maureen Hill says the process of transporting people back to their home is very slow.

She says over six thousand settlers want to remain in the province to see what will happen.

Ms Hill says remaining settlers remain in camps and are surviving on food crops, and whatever shelter they can find.