Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Eastern province situation report Feb 2005

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Observance Of The Ceasefire Agreement / The Military Situation
The general situation in the eastern province continues to be unsettled with many people still homeless and unable to get back to normalcy and regain their livelihoods after the devastative effects of the tsunami. Concerns have arisen regarding the security of people living in welfare centres in the Amparai district as the Special Task Force (STF) is responsible for the camps' security while the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) provides food to these persons; it is feared that innocent persons in the centres would be caught in the middle in the event of a clash between the two.

Degree of violence / rebellion

On 10 February a 'harthal' was staged in the Batticaloa district, when the bodies of assassinated LTTE carders were brought to Arasady for the public to pay their last respects. Government Institutions, banks, schools, shops and other business closed and all private and public transport facilities were unavailable. A large crowd including parliamentarian, government officers and religious leaders gathered at the Thevanayagam hall where the bodies were kept. The bodies were then taken to the Thandiyadi LTTE Heroes Cemetery to be buried.

Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation work

The Tamils' Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) has proposed a building project in the Punochchimunai area in Batticaloa for 75 houses for members of the Muslim community who lost their homes in the tsunami. The TRO is also making preparations to repair the Panichchankery Bridge, which was very badly damaged in the disaster. According Kachcheri the following are details of displaced families, deaths and the number of camps in the Batticaloa district as at 16 February 2005.

D.S Division No. Of families Death No. Of Camps
Refugee Camps Friends & Relative
Manmunai North
2,001
2,760
1,446
11
Kattankudy
592
1,664
84
09
Paddipalai
-
-
07
-
Vellavely
-
-
37
-
Arayampathy
279
625
50
03
Vaharai
2,681
150
313
09
Oddamavady
-
-
04
-
Kiran
67
-
94
01
Koralai Pattu Cent.
-
-
03
-
Chenlkalady
95
1,236
160
01
Valaichenai
257
1,050
451
01
Kaluwanchikudy
169
2,104
154
01
Eravur Town
-
-
01
-
Vavunathivu
-
14
32
-
Total
6,141
9,603
2,836
36

In Trincomalee, people displaced by the tsunami are living in 34 welfare centres in 6 DS Divisions. 21 of these centres are housed in schools, and displaced families who are not in the schools are living in tents and other places. Although many NGOs are currently providing assistance such as dry rations, other food items and clothing; the shortage of kerosene makes it difficult to use the cookers, which have been distributed to the displaced. There have also been reports that women and children are subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation.

The Social Welfare Organisations Amparai District (SWOAD) in collaboration with Oxfam provided 2,454 families in 11 welfare centres with an emergency pack consisting of a hygienic kit, tarpaulin, hurricane lamp and a mosquito net. Another organisation in Amparai 'SWIDO Vision' provided 400 temporary shelters, food relief to 3,200 families, NFRI to 2,200 families, school kits to 1,700 children and kitchen utensils to 1, 600 families. The organisation also provided play therapy for affected children. The local communities together with OXFAM Great Britain, USAID and the Polish Humanitarian Organization, are engaged in cleaning the areas that have been devastated by the tsunami. In Trincomalee, it has been reported that there is some concern regarding the issuing of food stamps to those affected by the tsunami. Although a total of 136,000 stamps are required, the Ministry of Essential Services has reportedly provided only 110,000 coupons. Samurdhi and the Multi-Purpose Cooperative Service (MPCS) issue these jointly, where 175.00 is for the purchasing of items from the Samurdhi and 200.00 from the MPCS. It is also reported that stamps have been purchased at a lower prices and re-sold while some persons who do require the assistance are receiving stamps.

(Trincomalee District Consortium meeting)