11 Jan 2005

PNG Defence Forces to be deployed to evacuee camps

11:16 am on 11 January 2005

The Papua New Guinea Defence Force says around 50 soldiers will be deployed in Manam Island evacuee camps to assist Provincial authorities.

The camps were set up on the mainland, after the evacuation of Manam Island's population of 9,000 began in November.

Defence spokesman, Lieutenant Thomas Kilala, says the camps are now overcrowded, with up to 3,000 people in each one.

He says because the maximum capacity for a camp is 2,000, authorities have had to open another one, and they've been asked to assist.

"Well their tasks would be to basically provide security to the care centres, and also to assist the provincial government in their distribution efforts in relief supplies - basically to coordinate."

Lieutenant Thomas Kilala says evacuations off Manam are still ongoing, as some village chiefs are refusing to leave their homes on the island.