ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 42

Daily influx in east upsetting stable relief for displaced

By N. Dilshath Banu

The Batticaloa is currently housing more than 150,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs), the highest number sheltered within a district. The continued influx of IDPs into cleared areas have disrupted government attempts to provide stable relief and instead house them in temporary locations like schools.

“We cannot deny access to the IDPs as they are seeking protection. What’s important is to make alternate arrangements for the students to continue their education,” said Batticaloa District Zonal Education Director A.M.E. Paul.

Last December, nearly 60 schools were closed to accommodate the Vakarai IDPs and reopened a month later. With fresh attacks east of Batticaloa, nearly 40,000 more refugees have arrive into cleared areas leading to the closure of 50 schools.

“As a temporary measure we have amalgamated some of the schools in the uncleared areas to three schools in the cleared areas. We requested the principals to identify their students and function as temporary schools,” Mr. Paul said adding that the UNICEF and the Save the Children had pledged their assistance.

Batticaloa GA S. Arumainayagam said they were short of tents and forced to use the school buildings as IDP shelters.

With limited sanitation facilities the IDPs run the risk of contracting water born diseases, said Dr. S. Thudsanamoorthi of the Provincial Health Service in Batticaloa.

Meanwhile, the Army allegedly arrested six persons while fleeing the Vavunathivu region. Regional Coordinator of Human Right Commission in Batticaloa R. Manoharan said a complaint to the affect was lodged by the missing persons’ relatives.

“Two are girls. N. Jeyalalitha, 16 was a Grade10 student in Pannichenai Vidyalayam and her 18-year-old sister N. Anchaladevi who is unemployed. Both were abducted by the LTTE in February but escaped. The other two are boys, S. Thiyagaraja, 23 and his cousin A. Yogaraja 21. Both are working for an NGO ‘Nectar Lanka Cattle Care’, said Mr. Manoharan. He said these two boys had in their possession a locally made gun used to scare away elephants which had probably lead to their arrest.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.