"All Mullaitivu tsunami affected are in transit camps"- Maaran

[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 April 2005, 01:12 GMT]
"Of the 5905 families displaced by tsunami in Mullaitivu district, all 2124 families which needed a place to live have been transferred to transit camps [from welfare centers] and the rest are living with friends and relatives in a temporary setting. We are waiting for funds to start our third phase of resettling the families in permanent state land," said Mr Maaran, Head of Mullaitivu district Emergency Task Force (ETF), when TamilNet spoke to him recently in his offices in Mullaitivu.

Maaran, Assistant Director of LTTE's Planning and Development Secretariat (PDS), co-ordinates all relief, resettlement and re-construction efforts in Mullaitivu district after tsunami as part of ETF.

Excerpts of TamilNet's interview with Maaran follows:

Maran (PDS)TamilNet: Explain to us what ETF is.
Maaran: Liberation Tigers (LTTE) realized soon after the tsunami that a co-ordinated effort to handle the calamity was vital to providing rapid and effective response to developing needs for emergency relief, providing temporary accommodation and long term resettlement. ETF was formed as result and has, including me, seven members comprising District Government Agent, International NGO representative, Local NGO representative, NGO consortium chair, Civil Society representative, and a representative from the LTTE Political Wing.

TamilNet: What are ETF's responsibilities and how does it function?
Maaran: We co-ordinate all relief activities in Mullaitivu district. All relief materials are directed to the ETF which decides where the relief are to be distributed. All operational decisions related to relief for the Mullaitivu district are taken by us. During the initial few days after the tsunami we worked with the NGOs to co-ordinate setting up of welfare centers and organizing emergency response to ensure equi-distribution of relief. During the first week, we also drew plans for progressing to the second phase during which affected people were to be moved from welfare centers to semi-permanent transit centers.

These are the shelters or tents which are expected to last not more than a year. We identified the locations and chose the NGOs that are to take responsibility for providing daily supplies and maintaining the welfare of the residents of different transit camps.

Maran (PDS)We have currently completed the second phase where 2124 families are being looked after in 21 transit centers spread out in Mullaitivu district (See table for details). The other families are staying with relatives and friends. We indirectly discourage these families from moving out of their current accomodations by providing them with relief supplies regularly so that they don't become a burden to their hosts.

TamilNet: What has the Sri Lanka Government done to help your work?
Maaran: Government of Sri Lanka contributed a relief assistance of Rs 15,000 per displaced family and also gave as funeral expenses of Rs 5000/- if there were three or more deaths and Rs 2500 for others. Day to day looking after the displaced is entirely done by the NGOs.

TamilNet: How did ETF function with competing and often contradicting objectives among the members?
Maaran: We have had little problems in executing our task. Ms Emelda Sukumar, Government Agent of Mullaitivu district, cognizant of the magnitude of the calamity affecting our people, fully co-operated with us. We had a group of own staff and volunteers from Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) who helped to collect information on the different transit centers and their needs. These were reviewed periodically by ETF members, and a consistent set of data was communicated to other institutions and the Sri Lanka Government which were seeking details from Mullaitivu and from other districts.

Maran (PDS)TamilNet: Can you explain ETF's plans for the next several months?
Maaran: The third phase where we seek to resettle displaced families in more permanent setting by giving each family land and assistance to build houses, is a critical one that requires large amount of funding. We are awaiting assistance from foreign donors to successfully complete the third phase.

We have already identified and have obtained approval from the GA on the State land where families are to be resettled. One problem is that state lands are scarce in coastal belts. The fisher families are demanding that border land close to the sea should be given to them. Hence, we are also seeking landowners who own such lands to sell their property to us to resettle the fisher families. Although, it will be a challenge to satisfy all displaced families in land matters, as long as we are perceived as being fair, I think people will be willing to accept minor shortcomings.

TamilNet: How are you approaching building houses for the displaced?
Maaran: As I mentioned the project cannot be accomplished without significant external help. But we have done all the ground work to get the reconstruction project moving when the required funds are made available. We will work with individual families to lay the foundation for a house according to each family's choice from several standard housing plans, but will put up the walls and roof for the same square footage around 550 sq.ft to all houses. This way, each family can expand the house to their liking when they are able to afford it.

Washington Post in its 4 January issue has this to say about Maaran: "Directing the overall effort was E.Maran, 28, a former guerilla whose forearm bears an ugly scar from a bullet wound he suffered while fighting the Government forces in 1995.

""Government bureaucracy is lethargic- that is natural in Sri Lanka- but it is more so when it comes to north and east," said Maran, who speaks flawless English that he learned at a Tiger run training academy. "When it comes to emergencies like this, we are well aware they are not up to the demands.""

PDS was established by the Liberation Tigers as a strategic think tank to take a lead role in policy development in resettlement, reconstruction and development of NorthEast.

Mullaitivu Transit camps and number of shelters

No

GS Division

GSD #

Transit camp sites

Num Shelters

Agency Responsible

1

Kallappadu & South

Mul91

Unnapulavu I

360

TRO

2

Kallappadu & South

Mul90

Unnapulavu II

162

TRO

3

Kovilkudiyiruppu & Mullai pattinam

Mul95

Karaichchikudiyiruppu I

200

TEAS/GAA/SLF

4

Selvapuram

Mul94

Vadduvakal

225

TRO

5

Manalkudiyiruppu

Mul96

Karaichchikudiyiruppu II

125

Care

6

Vannankulam

Mul92

Near Ice Factory & Hospital

50

World Vision

7

Vannankulam

Mul92

Near Unnapulavu Mill

74

World Vision

8

Vannankulam

Mul92

Near Unnapulavu Cemetery

56

World Vision

9

Silavathai

Mul88

Near Annamaal Kovil

107

TEAS/GAA/SLF

10

Silavathai South

Mul89

Swamil Thoddam

80

HUDEC/Caritas

11

Uppumaveli

Mul85

Near Uppumaveli Common Hall

35

HUDEC/Caritas

12

Alambil North & South

Mul86-87

Ramasami Thoddam

210

ZOA

13

Semmalai

Mul84

Sabaratnam Thoddam

65

SEED

14

Semmalai East

Mul83

Nayaru

35

SEED

15

Ambalavan Polanai

Mul100

Ambalavan Pokanai

50

World Vision

16

Ambalavan Pokanai

Mul100

PuthuMathalan

90

CARE

17

Ambalavan Pokanai

Mul100

Mathalan

30

World Vision

18

Mullaivaikal West

Mul99

Near Valaiganmadam Church

55

Alliance Relief

19

Mullaivaikal West

Mul99

Panaiyadi

45

Alliance Relief

20

Mullaivaikal East

Mul98

Mullaivaikal

40

Alliance Relief

21

Mullaivaikal East

Mul98

Vadduvakal

30

TRO

Source: Mullaitivu Emergency Task Force Report 21 March 2005



Related Articles:
15.01.05   Kofi Annan's Special Envoy visits Mullaithivu
04.01.05   PDS gears for phase two & three of tsunami relief in Northea..
04.01.05   PDS sends Australian and Korean doctors to the East
04.01.05   PDS sets in motion the needs assessment for tsunami relief
30.12.04   Cut red tape to deliver urgent aid- LTTE
27.12.04   Disaster Management Task Force Units setup in Northeast


External Links:
TamilNation: Tamil Tiger Guerrillas Directing Relief Effort (Washington Post)

 

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