OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Sisters of Mercy working to offer relief to residents of Carteret Islands escaping rising waters

Brisbane (Agenzia Fides) – About 1700 of the Carteret Islands' more than 3000 occupants are being forced to relocate to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea to live on 48ha of land donated by the Catholic Church as their island home disappears under the seas. Mercy Sister Wendy Flannery has launched a fundraising event for an organization known as Tulele Peisa, to bring aid to the refugees, according to a report from the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, “The Catholic Leader.” Sr. Flannery, who has worked around the Pacific Islands region for more than 20 years, says that the funds raised will go to the organization which plans to relocate 1700 Carteret Islanders voluntarily, 10 families at a time, to three safe and secure locations on mainland Bougainville over the next 10 years. “The name Tulele Peisa (sailing the waves on our own) is most appropriate - its vision is to help the community members maintain their cultural identity and live sustainably and independently wherever they are," Sr. Flannery said. The Catholic Church at Bougainville has donated an area of land at Tinputz and is willing to consider a second land grant once the first group of houses are built and families resettled. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 08/09/2010)

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