A cry louder than the ‘garamut’

A cry was heard louder than the beat of the Manus garamut drum yesterday.

It was the cry of the Pam Islanders, to maintain their sea wall back home in Manus.

Representing the island village at the Manus Provincial Day was the Pam Social and Welfare Association.

This association was formed years ago to see to the welfare and assist the people of Pam.

Today, a more imminent threat is the rising sea level.

The association began a chain of fundraising this year for the rehabilitation of the seawall, now submerged by the sea.

According to fundraising committee member Percy Sukbat, the existing seawall was built in the ‘80s.

“Seawall is the only thing that is a barrier between the sea and the village. When it’s gone, the whole village will be destroyed. We’d like to do a bit of rehabilitation on the seawall and build it up,” he said.

Sukbat said the Climate Change and Development Authority of PNG has funded a program to build, rebuild and maintain seawalls in coastal villages.

However, Pam Island was not included in the program.

He says proceeds from the fundraisings will go towards putting forward a proposal to the government to fund their project.

“Because our project is not included in the funding, the government is not doing the feasibility, so we’ll do the feasibility ourselves, put together the proposal and submit it to them to include us in their funding,” he said.

Sukbat is an engineer by profession and will be leading their own feasibility studies.

The biggest fundraising will be a corporate dinner later this year, where the CCDA and Manus parliamentary members will be invited.

“We will then sell the idea to them well before sending in the proposal so that they are aware and so when the proposal is submitted, it does not only sit there, but they are already aware and hopefully we get our project funded by the government.”

In the meantime, Sukbat says the climate change effect is bad.

And it’s not affecting only the village life but also the government station on the island, which includes the Pam Primary School and the health centre.

Gloria Bauai