'Epidemic waiting to happen' in detention camps

[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 May 2009, 12:04 GMT]
A disease outbreak in Tamil refugee camps in northern Sri Lanka is imminent, aid agency Christian Aid said Wednesday. Conditions in refugee camps remained desperately poor and there are 30 refugees living in five-person tents, the NGO said, as the overcrowded camps struggle to contend with the influx of civilians. Robin Greenwood, director of the charity's Asia programme said the camps are "an epidemic waiting to happen."

"A combination of monsoon rains, poor drainage and overcrowding is the ideal breeding ground for diseases like cholera and typhoid," he said.

"I fear that a disease outbreak in northern Sri Lanka is imminent if the government does not tackle the problem of overcrowding and sanitation."

“I fear that a disease outbreak in northern Sri Lanka is imminent if the government does not tackle the problem of overcrowding and sanitation.

"There are currently 30 people living in tents designed for five people", he added.

“Now that the Sri Lankan government has sovereign control of all of its territory, it must live up to its responsibilities to its citizens and put more into the relief effort,” says Mr Greenwood.

Christian Aid says it has been working with its local partner organisations to respond to the humanitarian needs of those who have fled from the conflict by providing much-needed relief in the camps.

 

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