Refugees at the Fly Camp settlement in Nauru face a new threat from large quantities of asbestos sheeting located mere metres away. The asbestos sheeting is currently housed in open shipping containers.

According to leaked state documents, the governments of Nauru and Australia have known about the asbestos since October 2018. However, the asbestos remains at its dumping site, causing frustration and concern among refugees.

Nauru Refugees Used Asbestos Sheeting for Makeshift Sheds

In the aforementioned leaked minutes, workers from Brisbane construction firm first noticed the asbestos hazard right behind Fly Camp. The documents also reveal that refugees have since been “using the asbestos to build sheds,” not knowing the material’s serious health hazards.

According to refugee Ellie Shakiba, there have been no visible efforts to properly deal with the containers of asbestos sheeting. “[Australian Border Force] says this is not our responsibility, this is [up to] the Government of Nauru. Nauru says there is nothing we can do, you should ask Canstruct.”

This is far from the first time asbestos-related concerns have been raised in Nauru. In 2015, state news service ABC reported that refugees and locals were performing asbestos removal without proper equipment.

Read more about the recent asbestos problem at Fly Camp here.

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