5000 Jaffna refugees sheltered in Pooneryn

[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 June 2000, 14:56 GMT]
More than five thousand civilians displaced from the Thenmaradchi division of the Jaffna peninsula due to bombing and shelling have been housed in a transit camp in Pooneryn, international aid agency sources said Thursday. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross are providing limited emergency relief to the displaced civilians they said.

The Liberation Tigers control the greater part of the Thenmaradchi division. The Sri Lankan Security Forces have been extensively bombing and shelling the region since the Tigers overran most of it after April 22.

Aid agency sources said that civilians are arriving daily from the LTTE controlled parts of Jaffna such as Madduvil, Manthivil, Nunavil, Chavakachcheri etc., The refugees walk or cycle to Pooneryn on the Kerathivu-Sangupiddy causeway carrying their basic belongings.

They have to take the boat or ferry to cross the short distance of the gap in the unfinished Mahatheva causeway between Kerathivu and Sangupiddy. Pooneryn is about four kilometers from Sangupiddy. The refugees begin their trek from their villages in Jaffna to Pooneryn mostly after dark to escape the frequent strafing and bombing of the Kerathivu-Sangupiddy crossing by the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) is providing cooked food for the Jaffna refugees in the Pooneryn transit camp the sources said. Volunteers of the LTTE's medical corps are treating the wounded among the refugees arriving from Thenmaradchi; and the ICRC has supplied many of the refugees with plastic mats and buckets the sources added.


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