Batticaloa refugees face epidemic hazard

[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 December 2004, 03:47 GMT]
More than forty thousand people who lost their homes and belongings in the Batticaloa district have found refuge in ninety four shelters – public buildings, schools and some places of worship, according to statistics released Wednesday by the Emergency Disaster Data Collection Centre set up by the Liberation Tigers for aiding relief and rescue work in the Tsunami devastated region. “We are struggling desperately to provide clean water, clothing and sanitation to these refugees”, said Mr. E. Kousalyan, head of the LTTE political division for Batticaloa-Amparai.

“Some of these refugee shelters are overcrowded. We are trying to form emergency management groups for these shelters to arrange sanitation, look after distribution of food, clothing and other relief supplies. The number one priority is to prevent the outbreak of epidemics in the refugee shelters. Unless we fast retrieve and dispose bodies that are still putrefying in the sand, bushes and destroyed buildings in some coastal villages and their environs”, Mr. Kousalyan said.

The LTTE ‘s special commander for the Batticaloa-Amparai District, Col. Bhanu was directing rescue and relief work in Batticaloa town and its coastal suburbs until Wednesday.

There are more than thirteen five hundred staying with relatives and friends, according to data gathered by the LTTE until Tuesday. “Obviously there are more. We are continuing to gather data and assess the destruction. So these figures will change every day”, an LTTE official in charge of the Emergency Data Collection Centre told TamilNet.

“So far only 1578 persons have been confirmed dead. We are awaiting information from the remoter parts of the northern coastline of the Batticaloa district”, he added.

Anyone who wants to find out about their relatives or want to get involved in the rescue and relief operations here can call our centre on 94-65-2226592, the official told TamilNet.

 

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