Update from Manus: healthcare the biggest issue

26 February 2019

Topics: "Manus Island"

We appreciate that you continuously fight for us. You are writing to get us freedom. Thank you.
Last September, you backed a crowdfunding campaign to launch a new program to provide the refugee men on Manus with urgently needed support. It was incredible to see this community of people in Australia mobilise so quickly to show solidarity with the men – who, after so many years, feel forgotten, frustrated and stuck.

Caz Coleman on a recent visit to Manus Island, where she met with the refugee men, community members and Act for Peace's local partner, about building a program to to improve some of the services that the men desperately need.
Almost six years we have been stuck here. We want to settle somewhere else as soon as possible and start our life.
I was on Manus earlier this month, meeting with our partner and some of the men there.  I was shocked by just how much the situation had deteriorated for the men over the past year. There was much more grief and distress than I had seen previously, and the health problems they are facing are deeply concerning.

Asal*, one of the men I had the privilege to meet while on Manus, told us that life has become “too horrible” for the men: “people feel too frustrated about their future. People are everyday getting sick. Some people hurt themselves. It’s too hard living here.”
 It’s very clear that health is the biggest issue. The public health system is underfunded, under-resourced and there are limited services available, not just for the refugees, but for the local population as well.

That’s why, through our partner, we are building a program with the hospital, the local community and the men to improve some of the services that they desperately need.

This program is aimed at improving health standards for the men on Manus would not have been possible without your generous and rapid response.

After six long years, we all want this to be over and your ongoing support means so much. Asal asked me to pass on these words to you:
I want to say something to Australian people. We appreciate that you continuously fight for us. You are writing to get us to freedom, thank you.
The best solution to the crisis on Manus Island is resettlement, however while the men are still there your support reminds the men that they are not alone, and that you stand with them.

The situation on the island is continually changing and our partner is there keeping watch. I will update you again as soon as I can, and in the meantime, I want to thank you for continuing to show the men that you care.

Caz Coleman  
*Asal's name has been changed to protect his identity as a refugee