Thousands flee amid new Sri Lankan bombardment
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 August 2006, 11:20 GMT]
Six hundred Tamil families fled an intense bombardment of villages in LTTE held Eachchilampathu division Tuesday and sought refuge in Vaharai division in Batticaloa district. Continuous artillery fire from Sri Lankan military installations in Trincomalee and its suburbs and from Kallaru Army (SLA) camp drove the four thousand people from their homes. Sri Lankan troops at Kallaru are blocking international and local aid workers from reaching the displaced.
Damaged Ilankaithurai Muhathuwaram bridge which connects Muttur east and Eachchilampathu.
Damages caused by artillery fire and aerial strike
Over the past few weeks, bombing by the Sri Lanka Air Force has destroyed the road network and bridges in the LTTE controlled areas. School buildings, several civilian houses and other public buildings in the LTTE held areas have also been destroyed.
The infrastructure facilities of the Muthur east and Eachchilampathu have almost completely destroyed.
Ilankaithurai Muhathuwaram Bridge which connects the LTTE held Muttur east and Eachchilampathu division was badly damaged due to aerial bombardment, severing the land route between the two areas.
Since then the movement of civilians and vehicular transport have come to a standstill.
The supply of food and other relief assistance by local volunteer organizations in these areas has also been disrupted due to damage cause to the road network.
Most of the Tamil families in LTTE held Muthur east fled and sought refuge in Eachchilampathu division villages following Sri Lankan air, sea and artillery bombardment unleashed soon after the suicide bomb attack which wounded SLA Army Commander Sarath Fonseka on April 25.
Since then displacement of Tamil families has been compelled by regular bombardment.
Lately, the number of Tamil families being displaced has shot up following continued Sri Lankan aerial strikes and artillery fire since the controversy over the Maavil Aru issue began.
The Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) has been providing cooked meals for these families three times a day and temporary shelter. TRO workers in the area are organising the distribution of food with available stock there, TRO sources said.
According to latest reports received from Muthur east and Eachchilampathu division, people are seen wandering along roads in search of safe places to escape from artillery fire.
More than thirty thousand families have been internally displaced and majority of them are staying in jungles and under culverts through out the day to escape artillery attack which continues day and night.
The misery inflicted by sustained Sri Lankan artillery fire and air strikes on thousands of internally displaced people is exacerbated by the economic embargo that was imposed on the area last year and tightened further this year, NGOs workers said.
Since April SLA troops manning the checkpoints dividing the SLA and LTTE controlled areas in Trincomalee have been imposing a ban on transporting food and other essential items including fuel, from government controlled territory to the LTTE held villages.
Troops say they have instructions from government authorities in Trincomalee.
Shops and co-operative outlets in LTTE held villages have almost run out of provisions. Scarcity for milk food has hit the children very badly, NGO sources said.
Poverty is prevalent in Muttur east and Eachchilampathu. Parents are struggling to provide milk and food for their children.