Their only haven shattered
In a short span of three months refugees living
in a temporary shelter in Kathiraveli, Batticaloa were struck by
tragedy and displaced yet again as more than 60 people including
children were killed in a hail of artillery and Multi-Barrel-Rocket
–Launcher (MBRL) fire last Wednesday.
It was a scene of panic at Batticaloa hospital
as the wounded and dead were being brought in and anxious people
thronged the area to learn about the fate of their loved ones on
|S. Saundarajah’s son
While most of the victims, mainly children, were
wailing in pain unable to understand what had hit them, relatives
were checking the name lists of those who had been admitted.
Twenty-seven- year old Madaraveera Elancheliyan,
who had been staying at the camp since July 7 after fleeing the
situation in Mutur was one of the lucky ones who survived.
“ I never thought such an attack would ever
occur. It was around 11 in the morning when all hell broke loose.
Two huge bombs fell into the camp and there were bodies strewn all
over . After about two hours the injured were rushed to the Vakarai
and Valachchenai hospitals. Later we were transferred here to the
Batticaloa hospital. My wife and two children are also supposed
to be here but I don’t know what has befallen them,”
In another corner 42 year old S. Saundarajah was
sitting besides his son. “We have been staying at Kathiraveli
school since leaving Poonakari due to the deteriorating security
situation. Life is difficult at the camp especially after I lost
my job as a labourer. We do not get proper food and other facilities
mainly due to transport problems. But at least we felt safe at the
But the security he felt was shattered that fateful
“ I saw my son falling and blood oozing
from his body. I immediately ran out carrying him to seek help.
I saw bodies with blood and burn marks fallen all over. My son was
first rushed to Valachchenai hospital and from there to Batticaloa.
It was only when I came here that I knew that my wife too had been
admitted here. But I have no news about my three daughters and other
son,” said a worried Saundarajah.
Nayanthymalar, 27, was resettled at Kathiraveli
after being displaced from Echchlampattu . She was consoling her
six year old daughter while her son sat on her lap. The daughter
had suffered injuries to her head and hands.“ I was cooking
and my kids were playing when I heard a huge noise. Everything seemed
to collapse and as my children came running towards me they fell
as something hit them. After that all I remember is everything collapsing
Batticaloa’s Additional GA K.Maheshan commenting
on the tragedy said, “ There were 1680 displaced families
staying at Vigneswaram Vidyalaya in Kathiraveli . According to independent
investigations there were no LTTE camps in the area. We are providing
these people with food and other essentials and trying to find alternate
land in other areas to resettle them ,”Mr. Maheshan said.