As bad as the situation presently is at the Manus Island detention centre, one thing is reasonably certain. If asylum seekers remain there, the situation from this point onwards is likely to get even worse.
That is because power has been cut, there is no electricity to run the centre's air-conditioning. Our footage shows asylum seekers sleeping on tables outside to escape the heat, which can reach 40C.
Bathrooms without running water quickly become filthy, even in urban circumstances. At the Manus Island detention centre, toilets and urinals are filthy and clogged. Green slime covers the floor of the shower recess and there is mould on the walls. Yet just 20 minutes away there is a facility with running water, power supplies and food.
According to activists speaking on behalf of the asylum seekers, the 580 men who refuse to leave their living quarters believe their lives would be at risk if they move to the new facility, which photographs earlier this week show is still under construction. The facility has incomplete sewerage works, unsecured demountable buildings and a lack of security fencing.
Locals who are hostile to asylum seekers are said to be the reason for the reluctance of the 580 men to move. "You have to ask why would anyone ever endure anything like this. Because they think they may face a slow death (in the centre) but outside they believe they will be rapidly in danger." GetUp's human rights campaign co-director Shen Narayanasamy said.
The security problem should be viewed as a separate and distinct issue to the conditions at the detention centre. The former is something that can be addressed by Papua New Guinea's police and immigration authorities. The latter is an unavoidable consequence of living in circumstances where water, electricity, food and medicine are no longer available.
Those refusing to move were warned yesterday by the PNG immigration department that if they do not shift to their new facility voluntarily, they face compulsory relocation.
Remaining at the existing centre is clearly not an option.