560 displaced families face starvation in Vadamaradchy

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 November 2006, 12:54 GMT]
Consortium of non Governmental Organizations in Jaffna expressed concern over severe food shortage and harsh living conditions of more than 560 families displaced from their villages behind the Thenmaradchy Forward Defence Line (FDL) border strip along Muhamalai-Nagarkovil and living in temporary accomodation in Vadamaradchy schools, during a press conference held Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at the NGO premises in Temple Road Nallur, Jaffna, civil society sources said.

"The situation is close to reaching a level of humanitarian disaster," said Mr. K Sivasubramaniam, President of the consortium.

Villagers displaced from Varani North, Karambaikuruchchi, Idaikuruchchi, Karukkai, Chuttipuram, Thavasikulam, Navatkadu, and Mirusuvil have sought temporary shelter in eight schools in areas of Vadamaradchy. Local NGOs can barely supply the displaced families with one meal a day, with no assistance from Sri Lanka Government's Jaffna Secretariat or International NGOs like UNICEF and UNHCR, Mr Sivasubramaniam said.

"Several urgent appeals to INGOs, and Government authorities with resources have not produced any mitigation to the refugees' conditions," NGO consortium president said.

Education Department authorities have made matters worse by demanding that the refugees move out from the schools and seek shelter elsewhere for the schools to resume functioning. NGO consortium president further accused Education authorities and UNHCR officials for offering only tarpaulin tent fabric to build temporary shelters and pressuring the families to move out of school buildings.

Mr Sivasubramaniam also pointed out that Colombo has verbally directed Jaffna Government officials to not encourage or participate in setting up refugee camps, and in any relief work. In addition, GoSL gave orders not to disclose the information that the refugees are staying in camps, the Consortium sources further charged.

The consortium official said that the Jaffna Government Agent, Mr K.Ganesh, constrained by Colombo' directive, has balked intervening at the developing humanitarian crisis. With continuing skirmishes and clashes between the warring parties along the FDL's, living conditions of the refugees will likely remain precarious, Mr Sivasubramaniam warned.



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