19 Mar 2019

Nauru refugees exposed to asbestos - report

2:13 pm on 19 March 2019

Refugees on Nauru have reportedly been exposed to asbestos, with Australia urging the government to take action.

The Nibok refugee settlement, Nauru.

The Nibok refugee settlement, Nauru. Photo: Pool / NZ Herald / Jason Oxenham

The ABC reported large quantities of asbestos sheeting have been ripped off buildings and left in containers near a refugee settlement.

Documents showed concerns were raised about the asbestos in meetings between the governments of Australia and Nauru in October.

They showed refugees on Nauru were using the materials to build sheds, without realising the danger, before they were eventually taken down.

Australia's Home Affairs Department said the asbestos did not belong to it or its contracted service providers in Nauru.

"The Department is aware of this matter and it has been raised with the Government of Nauru for appropriate action," a spokesperson said.

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