[TamilNet, Monday, 15 January 2007, 09:50 GMT]
More than 72,000 Tamil civilians internally displaced due to the military confrontations in the East, residing in 50 temporary camps in Batticaloa district's LTTE and GoSL controlled areas, are facing serious shortage of food, accommodation, drinking water, sanitation and toilet facilities, according to Batticaloa District Secretariat. Muttur east clashes, followed by battle for Sampoor, and now Vaharai clashes intensifying, the increasing numbers of Internally Displaced (IDPs) in Batticaloa face a dismal future.
Following the offensive of SLA and aerial bombings by Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) in July and August, more than 40,000 people from the LTTE controlled Muthur East area in Trincomalee district became displaced and fled to Vaharai in LTTE controlled Batticaloa district.
During the battle for Sampoor in November 2006, Batticaloa District Secretariat reported 41,463 people from Trincomalee district and 30,630 people from Batticaloa have fled to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) controlled areas in the Batticaloa district from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) held areas. The IDPs sheltered in 22 temporary locations in 14 Grama Seveka divisions in Batticaloa district.
Now, with the battle for Vaharai intensifying, other than the nearly 15,000 residents and IDPs are trapped in Vaharai as the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) conducts its brutal campaign to evict Tamils from the region, the rest have fled the area swelling the IDP population in other areas of Batticaloa.
Torrential rains in the past few days have blown off the roofs of six of the toilets constructed at the Kurukkalmadam camp in Manmunai Theneruvil Pattu regional secretary division. Twenty five tents in the camp have collapsed and six civilians residing in the camp afflicted by rain-related disease have been admitted in Kaluvanchikudy hospital.
652 civilians belonging to 188 families are accommodated at this camp, include 68 expectant mothers, 61 nursing mothers and 25 infants.
Acting on a complaint of worm-infested food being served to the residents of this camp, Mr.Gopalapillai, the regional secretary visited the camp, and after discussing with officer in charge, instructed that in future food should not served without the permission of public health officials.
Commenting on the situation prevailing at this camp, S.Krishnakumar, health officer of Kaluvanchikudy area said that construction of large number of tents is the root cause for the problems involving sanitation, drinking water supply and toilet facilities. He said that the problem can only be alleviated transferring some of the residents of the camp either to Mahiloor or to a new camp currently being constructed in Kaluvanchikudy, civil society sources said.
Acting on the suggestion of Mr.Krishnakumar, Batticaloa district Government Agent (GA), Suntharam Arumainayagam, instructed the regional secretary to take immediate steps to transfer 50 families to Kaluvanchikudy.
GA also announced that he will also take the necessary steps to transfer a Grama Sevaka (GS) from the area.
According to statistics released by Mr.Arumainayagam, the number of displaced families living in refugee camps in other areas are:
67 (352 members) Cheddipalyam
172 (642 members ) Manchamthoduvai
21000 (72,000 members) reside in 50 camps in Batticaloa District.
Asked about the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Batticaloa district, GA said a total of 64673 civilians belonging to 18176 families are residing in both the Government controlled areas and in LTTE-controlled areas in the following camps at the various locations:
- 2 Kaluvanchikudy
- 4 Araiyampathy
- 4 Vaharai
- 3 Valaichenai
- 21 Manmunai North
- 3 Kiran
- 11 Chenkalady
The Government Agent assured that he has discussed with various non governmental Organizations (NGOs) regarding accommodation issues and matters related to providing adequate sanitation and toilet facilities for the displaced, sources said.
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20.12.06 Besieged Vaharai continues to starve
20.11.06 Vaharai children eat roast fish to quench hunger
15.11.06 Vaharai starves
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