Census planned for Vanni region

[TamilNet, Saturday, 30 January 1999, 20:19 GMT]
A plan to establish the exact number of people living in the Vanni region was formulated at a meeting of Government Agents of the northern districts with the Department of Census and Statistics held in the Vavuniya Kachcheri today.

The discussion, titled Discussion on Enumeration of persons in Vanni' had been arranged by the Department of Census and Statistics with the assistance of the Commissioner of General of Essential Services, to explore ways and means to carry out a census of the population in the Vanni region, which is not controlled by the SLA.

Speaking at the meeting, K.Ganesh, the Government Agent (GA) of Vavuniya said that the death of a displaced man, travelling with his children to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) held area from Madhu last Tuesday (28), and the death of G.Alosyius, the displaced person who was killed while trying to reach Gurunagar by boat clearly demonstrated that there is an urgent need to send extra relief supplies to the Vanni region.

The GA said that both dead men had been compelled to leave the Vanni due to the lack of food in that region.

"(This) clearly indicates that all persons living in the uncleared areas are not being provided with the essentials by the authorities concerned", he said.

The Government Agents of Kilinochchi, Mulllaithivu, Mannar and Vavuniya have made a joint request to the Sri Lankan government to send a team of senior administrative officials to study the ground situation in the war-torn Vanni region and to reconcile the population figures in the area.

This was deemed necessary as the Sri Lankan government has cast doubt on the veracity of the population figures submitted by the GAs in their situation reports.

Officials said that today's discussion was convened after N.A.Obadage, the Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES), the Chairman of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of North (RRAN) and Dr.K.Ratnavel Chairman of Human Disaster Management Task Force, visited the area last month.

While speaking at the discussion, Mr.N.A.Obadage said that his visit had given him an opportunity to see the "real situation" for himself and therefore to bring it to the attention of the appropriate government authorities.

He further said that establishing the number of persons in the Vanni is critical to assisting the needy there.

The Sri Lankan government insists that reports of up to 400,000 dislaced people in the Vanni from aid workers and some Sri Lankan MPs are exaggerated and only allows relief aid to be admitted for a small proportion of this number.

Officials said that the enumeration of persons in the north which was scheduled in 1991 was not held due to the war situation prevailing in the area.

It was decided at the discussion today that the preliminary arrangements for the enumeration process should be completed before the end of February 1999.

Necessary instructions and training were issued today to the Government Agents, Additional Government Agents and the Assistant Government Agents of Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi districts.

L.U.W de Zoysa, the Additional CGES, K.Rajanayagam the Deputy CGES, R.Balakrishnan, T.Thanapalasingam and C.N.Galahitiyawa the Deputy Directors of Census and Statistics were also present at the discussion.


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