Refugees on Manus Island are sending out desperate pleas as they brace themselves for a violent confrontation with the Papua New Guinea military after the detention centre officially closed on Tuesday.
More than 600 men have barricaded themselves inside the centre with all power, water and other essential services cut off.
Australian and Papua New Guinea staff abandoned the site on Tuesday morning, with the Papua New Guinea army set to take control of the centre if the men refuse to leave.
The Papua New Guinea government is urging the men to move to alternative accommodation at three ‘open facilities’ in the main town of Lorengau, but refugees fear they will be subjected to violent attack from locals.
As the humanitarian crisis continues to unfold, refugees are using social media to share their situation with the rest of the world.
Kurdish-Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani is tweeting live updates from Manus Island and said the Australian government is “starving people to force them out”.
“Some refugees are very sick. They need urgent medical treatment. They have been physically sick for a long time. There is no support for them,” he tweeted.
“It’s a hot tropical day. The situation is getting worse as power and water is cut.
“It’s time I have to say SOS. The refugees are extremely scared. The situation is critical. Any time we are expecting attack by navy.”
Some Manus Island refugees have posted goodbye messages on social media.
Ezatullah Kakar, who has been detained for more than 1600 days, warned of an imminent attack from the Papua New Guinea navy.
“If navy and police attack us, we will die but we will never fight with them, because we came for safety not for fighting,” he tweeted.
“Remember I am posting my true words, when I die then read it my diary in Twitter, if you don’t believe then visit Manus after my death.”
Refugee Walid Zazai posted a part of his ‘will’ on Facebook.
“Dear mum, I love you so much my sweet mum,” he wrote.
“But sweet mum, if Australia kills me and you receive my dead body plz hug me.
“Please stroke my head hair with your beautiful hands and kiss me on my forehead as well, because I missed it for four years.
“But please mum forgive Australia, because of a few lovely people who love me and support me everyday.
“To all my friends, please love each other, remove hate from your hearts. Just love each other. This world needs love, just love for peace.”
Greens senator Nick McKim is currently on Manus Island and tweeted a photo of a broken fence destroyed by locals trying to loot the centre.
However, the Australian government and opposition have largely remained silent as the crisis continues to escalate.
A number of Uniting Church leaders have used social media to remind the Australian government of its responsibility to protect the men on Manus Island.
Moderator Sharon Hollis tweeted to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: “we sent these men to Manus, we have continued to deny them their human rights and now we are leaving hem to suffer through the closure of the refugee centre. I feel ashamed of our inhumanity. Please #BringThemHere”
Ms Hollis also described Australia’s treatment of refugees as “a terrible indictment of our government and country.”
Williamstown Uniting Church minister Rev Dr Avril Hannah-Jones urged Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten to find a resettlement solution for the men on Manus.
“If Australia won’t take the #Manus men at least let them go to NZ,” she tweeted.
Refugee supporters are urged to call the offices of Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop, Bill Shorten and Tanya Pliberseck and ask them to immediately bring the refugees to Australia.
Malcolm Turnbull: (02) 6277 7700
Julie Bishop: (02) 6277 7500
Bill Shorten: (02) 6277 4022
Tanya Pliberseck: (02) 6277 4404