Mullaitivu faces total blockade

[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The supply of food and other essential goods to the Mullaitivu district may soon been cut off sources in Vavuniya said today. This is mainly due to the SLA's shelling of the dirt road from Kilinochchi district to Mullaitivu and the effect of the monsoon showers on the access road into the Vanni through Madhu.

The SLA in the Kilinochchi camp have in the past few days begun shelling the dirt road from Kilinochchi to Mullaitivu through Irnaimadu. Traveling on this road has now become extremely dangerous.

The Mankulam Ottisuddan road remained the only metalled and hence usable road to Mullaitivu after Operation 'Jaya Sikurui' cut off the Puliyankulam road in June this year.

This road was cut off to civilian traffic following the latest round of fighting between the Liberation Tigers and the SLA at Karuppatta Murippu between Ottisuddan and Mankulam. In this battle, the Liberation Tigers blew up the Olumadu bridge which is on the road approach to Mankulam town.

Later reports said that the LTTE had metaled an old dirt track to Mullaithivu between Kilinochchi and Murikandy. The shelling directed at this road from the Kilinochchi SLA camp is aimed at making it unserviceable, said sources in Vavuniya.

The monsoon has compounded the situation further by turning the gravel filled dust roads through Madhu to the Vanni interior into muddy quagmires in many places.

The present access road to the Vanni which is kept open by the SLA is through the Uyilankulam junction in the Mannar mainland.

This road is not metalled beyond Adampan. The road is through thick dry zone jungle beyond Admampan and Parappakkadanthaan all the way to Madhu.

There is a metaled road from Madhu to Palampiddy. But after this the road is made of gravel and white mud up to the hamlet of Nattankandal, through dense high forests.

In the monsoon these two dirt roads are exposed to the ravages of jungle floods. In many places the monsoon rain waters remain on the road for days until dry weather evaporates the large mud pools.

If there is traffic during this time on these roads the gravel, white mud and water combine to completely impede the progress of all vehicles except tractors (even these are often stuck in some of the bigger pot holes on the interior roads of the Vanni).

Hence lorries which carry food stuff and other essential items may not be able to reach the Vanni interior in the coming days said sources in Mannar.

Even if they reach places like Mallavi and Akkarayan Kulam in the western sector of the Vanni it is very doubtful whether they will be able to proceed to Mullaitivu in view of all possible routes leading into it being cut off by the Sri Lankan army.

An officer at the Vavuniya Kachcheri said that this might soon precipitate a serious crisis in the eastern sector of the Mullaitivu district.

He said that foreign humanitarian organisations and the GA are unable to do anything about this developing crisis because right now the Sri Lankan government considers it high military priority to keep all access routes to Mullaithivu from the western sector of the Vanni completely cut off.

 

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