The ASRC demands medical evacuation for emergency treatment of trauma, only 3-4 mental health nurses on Manus
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is deeply fearful of the mental and physical condition of men on Manus experiencing violence, emotional abuse and humiliation during forced removal from the regional processing centre (RPC).
Descriptions of events this morning as Papua New Guinea (PNG) Police and Immigration entered the Manus detention camp for the second day in a row include the use of long metal batons, physical assault and very threatening behaviour by police towards the men.
Due to the history of trauma experienced by many of these men in their country of origin, and during violent events on Manus Island since then, the ASRC is expecting many to suffer from trauma responses and serious mental health deterioration in the coming days.
Our understanding is that there are only between 2-4 mental health nurses available on Manus Island currently, for a population of over 600 men.
The mental health emergency is compounded by almost 5 years of detention on Manus Island, and the past 3 weeks of lack in food, medicine and water on account of the Australian Government shut down of the RPC services.
The only safe, humane or logical solution is to evacuate the men immediately.
Last week, the ASRC exposed a medical emergency worsening inside the RPC and, for some men at the transit centres. The men are already worn down from illness and lack of medicine, food and water.
In a visit to Manus last week, the ASRC Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Jana Favero, Detention Advocacy Manager Natasha Blucher and CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis witnessed first hand the fear of the men for their lives and safety at the new facilities which are not complete – there is a lack of food, security and water.
This is a terrifying and traumatising state to live in for a prolonged period of time with no end in sight for the men, mostly found to be refugees.
Professor Patrick McGorry said this week on The Project that deaths from suicide and treatable medical conditions are inevitable.
The ASRC demands the Australian and PNG authorities allow medical professionals immediate access to the men to ensure their mental and physical health is treated as a medical emergency and no lives are lost from illness or suicide.
Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Jana Favero said “We are extremely concerned, especially after the violence and mental abuse inflicted in the forced removal of men, for their deteriorating mental and physical health.”
“We know that medical facilities on Manus Island are not equipped nor staffed to treat complex mental and physical health issues, particularly in survivors of torture and trauma”, Jana said.
CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis said “The men’s mental and physical safety must be a priority now that they have been forcibly moved.”
“The men are in the care of the Australian government, and we ask that the government allow emergency medical care to be given to the men by appropriate medical organisations, while simultaneously arranging for the men to be evacuated now”.