Sri Lanka: Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya and Trincomalee districts Situation Report # 17
I. Situation Overview & highlights
- On 6 January, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province (PTF) and Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa visited Jaffna District to officially release a 300m portion of the Palaly High Security Zone (HSZ) buffer zone for resettlement. Mr. Rajapaksa was accompanied by Minister for Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda, Governor of the Northern Province Maj. Gen. G. A. Chandrasri and Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. General Mark. Also, Mr. Rajapaksa announced that as of 6 January the A9 highway would be open 24 hours.
- On 10 January, President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Jaffna on the final leg of a campaign tour of the North and East, which included stopovers in Mannar and Vavuniya the previous day. At a public meeting in Jaffna town, President Rajapaksa highlighted the removal of travel restrictions upon the A9 road, adding that train services would soon be extended to connect the Jaffna peninsula to the mainland. He further said that restrictions on fishing off the coast of Jaffna have been lifted. He spoke of Government plans to develop the fisheries and agriculture sectors and education services in Jaffna. Furthermore, President Rajapaksa stated that an honourable and just solution would be found to the ethnic conflict and elections held in the near future to elect a Northern Provincial Council.
- Military authorities have released the HSZs in Chavakachcheri DS Division, Eluthumadduval and Mirusuvil for resettlement. Many civilians were displaced from these areas in 2006 due to their proximity to the Forward Defence Lines (FDL).
- On 4 January, five schools in Karachchi Division were reopened for the first time after the war. The schools were Hindu College, St. Fathima Roman Catholic School, Kanagapuram Maha Vidyalaya, Hindu Junior School and St. Theresa School. The Governor of the Northern Province informed the media that free transportation facilities would be provided for teachers of these five schools to travel from Jaffna and Vavuniya Districts.
- On 9 January, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, accompanied by the Ministers Rishard Bathiudeen, Douglas Devananda, Milroy Fernando and V. Puthrsigamani, Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa and the Northern Governor visited Mannar and participated in an election rally held at the Mannar Stadium.
- On 9 January, the President visited Vavuniya and participated in an election rally at the Vavuniya Urban Council ground. He also visited Menik Farm for a ceremony reuniting 700 child combatants, who had undergone rehabilitation, with their families.
- UNHCR estimates that approximately 100,000 IDPs are in Menik Farm on any given day, with 20- 30,000 IDPs on temporary passes outside the camp. With most I/NGO funding scheduled to end on 31 January, the continued provision of basic services to the camp has become an issue.
- There is a reduction in number of cases of dengue and other priority communicable diseases in Vavuniya.