Threat of starvation haunts "Safe Zone" families
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 April 2009, 00:56 GMT]
Subasan, a 24-year-old fisherman originally from Muzhangkaavil in Naachchikkuda,
displaced at least 29 times to date and now wounded in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) shelling
inside the so-called safe zone, told TamilNet correspondent in Vanni Sunday, that his family is traumatized by the daily hardships, and that his family faces starvation due to shortage of food. Subasan said his family lead a reasonably comfortable life from his earnings from fishing. His dire economic situation has forced his pregnant wife to now sell their tarpaulin sheet for Rs.1,400 to take care of him.
I. Subasan, displaced 29 times, now wounded in SLA attack on civilian 'safety zone' in Mullaiththeevu
Subasan's family left all their belongings behind at Moongkilaa'ru when they hurriedly fled into LTTE-controlled areas in order to escape the continued shelling and aerial bombardments by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
Subasan said his family has been displaced 29 times from the time the Sri Lanka military started the offensives in August 2006.
Recounting the incident when he was injured by an exploding shell inside the "safe zone," Subasan said:
"My mother was staying in another hut about hundred meters away. Both my mother and I were on our way to a nearby shop when a shell unexpectedly landed and exploded close to us. I was thrown by the blast and both my ears were blocked by the explosion. When I recovered from my initial shock, I realised that I was injured. I tried to save a badly injured 14-year-old boy lying nearby but boy succumbed to his injuries. I was later brought to the make shift hospital by my elder brother. My mother was also wounded in the explosion."
"I have two children, but the food we have is inadequate to feed the family,"
Subasan says. "The food we have is enough for only one person, but we share. The food is usually gruel that we have in coconut shells that serves as bowls. My children ask for more food, but I am unable to provide for them. I don't know what will happen to all of us".
Subasan had to shoulder more responsibilities when his brother-in-law was killed one week earlier.
"My brother-in-law died on the road minutes after calling on me. He was hit in the chest by a shell shrapnel and died on the spot. I have been taking care of my sister's children since then," Subasan said.
"Now, with my injuries, I don't know what I am going to do to take care of my children and my sister's children?
Subasan has multiple wounds in his body and is unable to sit or sleep lying down with his injuries.
Subasan says that the shelling on March 23 even destroyed the make shift hospital's operation theatre and left the water tanks with holes.
His children haven't had any education for the past five months and are psychologically affected by the constant displacement, fear of shells, and the severe lack of basic essentials including food, Subasan says.