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20 Jan 2018 21:43
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  •   Home > News > International

    Manus Island: Locals protest after video purportedly shows sewage flowing down hill near detention sites

    Asylum seekers on Manus Island say local residents have blocked access to their accommodation in a protest over sewerage problems at the site.

    Asylum seekers on Manus Island say local residents have blocked access to their accommodation in a protest over sewerage problems at the site.

    Sri Lankan refugee Shamindan Kanapadhi said between 10 and 15 neighbouring residents had barricaded the road and were complaining about the smell of sewage and the fact it overflows onto their land.

    "So they're saying that the sewerage, it's smelly and there is no proper drainage system," he said.

    "It's causing much issue for the local people so they need to fix and until they fix they're not going to let the barrier open."

    Security guards have told asylum seekers inside the West Haus and Hillside Haus sites to remain in the compounds for their own safety.

    Mr Kanapadhi, who lives in West Haus, says the men inside are worried.

    "[We are] very scared," he said.

    "There is no safety here because fully local people control these places, not like the Lombrum camp [the former detention centre]."

    Asylum seekers sent a video showing dirty water flowing down the hill from the sites, saying it was sewage that flowed past their dining area.

    Local residents on Manus confirmed there were ongoing complaints about the site, saying they had previously raised concerns about the noise of the generator and the impact of construction on neighbouring families.

    The Australian Government has previously dismissed claims the sites are unfinished and unsuitable for the large number of men housed within.

    The protest is the fourth on the island since the forced relocation of asylum seekers the detention centre at the Lombrum naval base in November last year.

    Landowners have previously blocked access to the West Haus and Hillside Haus site, and a large group of landowners has twice blockaded access to the larger East Lorengau Transit Centre in a protest over a contract, forcing one service provider to evacuate its staff from the island.

    The ABC has contacted Manus Island police and PNG's Immigration authority but is yet to receive a response.

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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