THE Nauruan government ruled out accepting women and children asylum seekers until ''further modifications'' are made to the tent city that has sprung up on their tiny island nation over the last six weeks, echoing criticisms by the Salvation Army.
While the acting President of Nauru, Kieren Keke, noted the camp was still in its infancy, he backed up comments by the Salvation Army - which is providing support services for asylum seekers there - in saying more work was needed.
''I think we would be getting comfortable [about accepting women and children] when some further modifications are made that would enable segregation between different populations,'' he said.
Dr Keke's comments came hours after a spokesman for the Salvation Army, Major Paul Moulds, questioned whether the Topside processing centre on Nauru, erected over the last six weeks and able to house up to 500 asylum seekers, was ready for women and children.
''We certainly would be keen to see more development happen with facilities,'' he said.
Yesterday, a second group of asylum seekers - 36 single Tamil men - touched down on Nauru, taking the asylum seeker population there to 86.