Humanitarian situation worsens in Vaharai
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 13:30 GMT]
More than 20 000 civilians continue to stay in temporary refugee camps at schools and surrounding houses in villages Kathiraveli, Vammivedduvan and Palchenai in Vaharai region amid acute shortage of
food and humanitarian supplies, a local NGO official told TamilNet. Many families from Vaharai were forced to leave behind their grandparents who were unable to walk long distances.
The International Community has been increasingly criticized by the Tamils for maintaining silence, and for directly or indirectly supporting Sri Lanka's military strategy of forced eviction of Tamils from Vaharai
Sri Lanka Army, from Kajuwatte camp fired artillery shells towards Kathiraveli Monday at 9:05 p.m. 7 civilian houses were damaged.
5 SLA soldiers were wounded when LTTE fired in retaliation on the Kajuwatte SLA camp. The injured troopers, S.M.Kumarasiri, 42, K Wijesinghe,
33, M Rajakaruna, 36, M.K.Herath, 26 and S.L. Kumaradasa, 31, have been
admitted to the Polonnaruwa hospital, sources from SLA Valaichenai Brigade
Head Quarters sources said.
Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation official, S. Moorthy said elderly
persons, left behind in schools and Vaharai hospital, need
TRO has appointed 2 volunteers to look after 40 elderly persons at
Vaharai hospital. They needed a safe location outside the hospital as
the hospital administration, with only a single doctor and a few staff,
had limited resources at the hospital.
The TRO, in a statement issued on Monday said pregnant women, breast
feeding mothers, small children and babies were undergoing
difficulties of unprecedented nature due to a lack of adequate food,
medicine, and shelter.
Rev. Fr. M.X.Karunaratnam, the Chairperson of the North East
Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR), in an urgent letter to the
Secretary General of the United Nations Monday said, NESoHR, as the
only indigenous Human Rights agency, urged the international
community, Human Rights activists and humanitarian agencies to exert
their "full strength and force to halt the human tragedy in Vaharai
and the forced evacuation of Tamils from their home land."
"Justification of Sri Lankan government's deliberate military attacks
on innocent Tamil civilians at Vaharai by stating that Sri Lankan
military is targeting them only in retaliation, cannot be justified
by any norms of humanitarianism," Fr. Karunaratnam said in his letter
to U.N. Secretary General.
NESoHR Chairman in an attached report to the letter said that the
International community and humanitarian agencies were caught up in
the politics of Sri Lankan state, instead of giving protection to the
Tamil people in their own land at Vaharai.
"Forcing the Vaharai people to evacuate their homes leaving their properties and land behind in the
hands of the brutal Sri Lanka military and thereby locking them inside the roofless prison of Army controlled areas of Batticaloa
and Trincomalle region as they did to the Tamils in Jaffna in 1996."
Tamils increasingly viewed the promises of the international
communities and agencies, not only illusory but also as a dangerous
trap for the Tamil people, according to NESoHR chairman.
Meanwhile, the Liberation Tigers officials said the Tigers had
repeatedly urged through the ICRC and other International
agencies to designate the Vaharai hospital and
identified non-combatant settlements of the Internally Displaced
People (IDP) in Eachilampattu, Kathiraveli and Vaharai villages, as
LTTE's Trincomalee Political Head S. Elilan, Director of LTTE's Peace Secretariat S. Puleedevan, and M Thiagaraja, Director of the Liaison
office of UN and international agencies had met ICRC officials in various occasions and discussed the possibility of setting up a safe-haven, Mr. Ilanthirayan told TamilNet Monday.
However, the move was scuttled as Colombo was not willing cooperate with the humanitarian agencies.
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12.12.06 Monitors urge parties to refrain from violence in Vaharai
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05.12.06 One Vaharai IDP dead, another critical