Floods worsen tsunami refugees' woes

[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 January 2006, 03:40 GMT]
One year has passed since Boxing day disaster. Tsunami relief supplies have stopped and the fourth installment of the six monthly installments promised by the Sri Lanka Governmnt was paid only two months ago. The refugees at Thiraimadu, an outer suburb of Batticaloa town, are yet to hear from the NGO that promised to build permanent houses for them. Meanwhile, refugees were hit by floods, twice in December, and again last Saturday when continuous rain for three days soaked the temporary shelters and inundated the shelter grounds with flood water.

Flooded temporary shelters at Thiraimadu
Flooded temporary shelters at Thiraimadu

Joseph Ragel with his child
Joseph Ragel with his child
Flooded temporary shelters at Thiraimadu
Flooded temporary shelters at Thiraimadu
Alagaiah Pushparajah
Alagaiah Pushparajah from Navalady
Joseph Ragel, 45, a father of two, lives in a temporary shelter at Thiraimadu.

"Our children are stranded in flooded shelters facing diseases and health hazards," says Ragel.

Around fifty families of 693 families in the temporary shelters, were forced to leave their shelters following heavy rains, Ragel adds.

"We are yet to hear from World Vision that promised to build permanent shelters," Ragel says.

Batticaloa's outskirt villages Navalady, Dutch Bar and Thiruchendur were devastated on Boxing day tsunami. The refugees were temporarily sheltered at Thiraimadu following the disaster.

Recent flood waters forced about 35 families to leave the area and seek accomodation with their relatives, notes Alagaiah Pushparajah, 49, another survivor of the Boxing day disaster.

Alagaiah lost his 33 years old wife, Radhika and two children, aged 7 and 9 on December 26, 2004.

"The rations have stopped. We have only received four installments of the relief money pledged by the Government," Alagaiah says.

"The installments meant for the first 6 months, have delayed for more than a year now", he adds.

Fouth installment was paid on November 25. The next one promised to be paid at the end of December is yet to be paid.

367 families from Navalady, 90 families from Thiruchendur and 236 families from Dutch Bar were settled in temporary shelters, according to Joseph Ragel.

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