28 Jun 2010

Manam Islanders in PNG could have been victims of contaminated water

7:59 pm on 28 June 2010

The cause of the deaths of fifteen people on Manam Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea's Madang Province over the past two weeks remains a mystery.

It's suspected it's cholera, which was rampant in parts of Madang late last year.

But with the Manam Island volcano continuing to emit smoke and ash, the Governor, Sir Arnold Amet, says they may have died as a result of consuming contaminated water.

The volcano erupted violently more than five years forcing around ten thousand people into care centres on the mainland.

Sir Arnold says the dead are among hundreds who'd been forced to return to the island following violent clashes with local landowners at the Daigul care centre in rural Madang.

"They are now being allowed to come back onto the mainland to another care centre, Potsdam care centre, where they will be allowed to stay with their other relatives, other Manam Islanders, away from the island."