ANIBA PETRU will be spared a traumatic eight-hour boat journey to take the body of his daughter home from Australia after a call for help raised almost $20,000 in donations.
Ordinary Australians put their shoulder to the wheel as the federal and Queensland governments failed lamentably to show compassion and basic human understanding to a man in deep distress, who only wanted to get his daughter home.
Mr Petru rushed his extremely sick 14-year-old daughter Marthi to the Torres Strait Island of Saibai in February in a desperate search for treatment. She died a week later in Cairns Base Hospital of tuberculosis.
Mr Petru spent three months in quarantine after being diagnosed with the disease and has been trying to take his daughter home for weeks.
Queensland Health initially told Mr Petru they would fly him back to Saibai but he would need to get back in a dinghy with his daughter's coffin to make the eight-hour sea journey home to his village on Kadawa, in PNG's western province.
However, a call for donations from Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch late last week raised more than $20,000, more than enough to fly Mr Petru and his daughter to PNG.
Mr Entsch said Queensland Health would pay to fly Mr Petru and his daughter to Horn Island in the Torres Strait on Monday and Cape York Air Transport has agreed to fly them to Daru, the nearest airport to Kadawa.
He said donations would also provide enough to cover the funeral costs for Marthi and for him to take his remaining three children to Saibai to be tested for tuberculosis.
The remainder will be used to establish a fund at Cairns Penny Savings and Loans for PNG nationals forced to travel to Cairns for treatment, he said.
"We got so many donations, much more than we needed. I think that shows we are a caring society."
Source: Sydney Morning Herald