IDPs, tsunami victims celebrate New Year in camps, tents

[TamilNet, Thursday, 14 April 2005, 10:59 GMT]
Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Tamil families affected by tsnunami and two decade old war Thursday celebrated another New Year in camps, welfare centres and make-shift structures as their own houses and agricultural lands in the Jaffna district are occupied by soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), civil society sources said.


IDP camps
Newly constructed shelters at Pillaikulam Bridge area for 21 Alles Garden camp refugees

IDP camps
A woman leading refugee life for fifteen years
Some of the IDP families in Jaffna district are staying with their relatives and friends. Even after three years since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the future of IDP families sheltered in welfare centres is still very bleak, civil sources said.

"We do not know when we would be allowed to return to our own houses and agricultural plots to lead an independent and honourable life. Several Tamil New Year celebrations have come and gone since we were driven out of our houses and lands. We pray God to make way to celebrate the next Tamil New Year in our own house", said a woman IDP Ms Nageswarai Thanaraj.

IDP camps
A section of Alles Garden refugee camp
In the rest of the northeast province also several thousand Tamil families celebrated the Tamil New Year in tents, camps and makeshift structures, sources said.

The refugee camp in Alles Garden, a suburb in the north of Trincomalee town, which is also called UNHCR refugee camp, sheltered about three hundred Tamil families. These families fled and sought refuge in Tamilnadu, South India in 1990 when the SLA launched military operation in several Tamil villages in the Trincomalee district. They were brought back in 1995 from Tamilnadu by UNHCR and sheltered in Alles Garden refugee camp located along the coastal area.

IDP camps
21 displaced families due to war in Trincomalee currently residing in Pillaikulam Bridge low lying area after tsunami
Last year tsunami destroyed a section of the Alles Garden refugee camp making several families homeless again. Of them about twenty one families who were residents of villages Pankulam and Kuchchaveli in the Trincomalee district were forced to find an alternate site to stay. Last week they put up tent houses with the assistance of a non-governmental organization in a low lying area near Pillaikulam Bridge along Trincomalee Sambaltivu road and are living there without any basic facilities after tsunami disaster, sources said.

They said they are unable to return to their lands in their villages, as authorities concerned are not taking any step to resettle them. Hence they are forced to move from one place to another for more than ten years. Ms Gayathrie, a displaced woman said, "we are forced to celebrate the New Year from the new site".

 

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