TRO reports detail struggle for survival

[TamilNet, Monday, 23 March 2009, 02:01 GMT]
In a series of reports Lawrence Christy, planning director at the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) details the travails of daily life of the civilians caught in the war, amidst the artillery fire of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). "From the first shell no one knows how to escape. Before second shell falls all will be in the bunkers. Like parent rabbits and their kids scurrying to a hole when they saw a vulture parents dragging and lifting their children and hurry into the bunkers," Christy says in the 11th March report.

TRO at work in temporary shed
TRO at work in temporary shed
"Not all can afford to build fortified bunkers. They are fortified with sand bags and Palmyrah logs. It cost about 10,000 rupees. For each log we have to pay Rs.300.00. We need at least 15 logs to have a bunker that houses a family. Rs. 4,500.00. Transport Rs.4000.00 for two journeys in a tractor. For making a bunker we have to spend Rs.2,000.00," Christy documents the cost of the basic safety feature, the bunker, that is available to the 250,000 civilians who have decided not to heed the call of the SLA to move out.

He says health volunteers hold group discussions to improve the sanitation situation with TRO continue to build toilets away from the IDP settlements.

"Chickenpox, diarrhea, viral fever, sore eyes and cough etc. are widespread. Cough is common to most of the IDPs. At nights from almost every shelter you can hear the terrible sound of coughing. The viral fever afflicts an indivudual several times," Christy adds.

Amidst the struggle for survival, only a fraction of the refugees can afford to buy essentials. "With the shortage of food the prices for available food items are exorbitant. Fish kilo over Rs.1000, Chilly kilo Rs.4000, Rice Rs.200, Egg Rs.50, Kerosene oil Rs.300 and coconut Rs.110."

In the crowded living conditions, the displaced population struggle to maintain their cultural values and habits, Christy says.


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