While PNG prepares for the start of the APEC conference the crisis among refugees still on Manus and those in Port Moresby for medical treatment is seriously unravelling.
Around 50 refugees and asylum seekers have been transferred from Port Moresby to Manus supposedly for security reasons. But many of them have been returned to without receiving medical attention and will be deprived of any possibility of treatment on Manus Island.
On 3 November, when police and immigration officials attempted to move six of the men to Manus, one man seriously self-harmed badly cutting his wrist and neck.
Around 45 people needing treatment remain in Port Moresby. There are concerns that medical services will be restricted at PIH (Pacific International Hospital) which is a priority hospital for APEC delegates (see photos attached). Appointments for refugees at PIH have been cancelled. The Granville Hotel that has been accommodating the sick refugees has been locked down.
But just as Nauru medical services crumbled, medical services in Port Moresby are unable to cope. On 3 November, when police and immigration officials attempted to move six men to Manus, one man seriously self-harmed badly cutting his wrist and neck.
Refugee and advocates have particular concerns for one of those left in Port Moresby, a 46 year-old Iraqi man, who yesterday (10 November), who lost a litre of blood in his third serious self-harm attempt since September when he swallowed razor blades and a nail clipper.
Meanwhile the situation is also badly deteriorating on Manus Island. The clinic at East Lorengau compound, also run by PIH, only operates in business hours. There is no emergency service. Outside of business hours, refugees must use the Lorengau hospital which is ill-equipped. Refugees are being left unattended in a badly under-resourced hospital that struggles to provide basic treatment for locals.
An Iraqi man, who has been refusing food for over 10 days is now refusing water (photo attached). It is beyond the capabilities of Lorengau hospital to treat him. He needs to be urgently transferred.
“The medical situation in Manus and Port Moresby is as much a medical emergency as the situation on Nauru that has forced the evacuation of children and their families,” said Ian Rintoul spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“The Nauru children and the families are just the tip of the iceberg of offshore detention. There is an urgent need to get everyone off Manus and Nauru. APEC will focus more attention on Australia’s use of PNG to warehouse refugees and the on-going human rights abuses that it is responsible for.”
The Refugee Action Coalition is hosting a forum, “Eyewitness from Manus: The Other Refugee Medical Emergency,” with speakers, whistle-blower and former Manus and Nauru worker, Nicole Judge and Ian Rintoul (RAC) , recently returned from visiting Manus and Port Moresby; Monday 12 November, Teachers Federation, 23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills.