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163 civilians die at Sri Lanka's relief camps

The Sri Lankan government on Friday said 163 people have died between May 15 and July 14 at the relief camps in the country's north.

world Updated: Jul 17, 2009 20:44 IST
Xinhua

The Sri Lankan government on Friday said 163 people have died between May 15 and July 14 at the relief camps in the country's north.

The health ministry has rejected the reports by some international media that 1,400 people have died at the relief camps last week, the government information department said in a statement.

"Several media bodies in Britain, including the London Telegraph, had carried false and malicious news items claiming that nearly 200 people housed in welfare centres died daily," it said.

Those reports were carried out to discredit the Sri Lankan government, the statement said citing Athula Kahandaliyanage, secretary to the ministry.

He added that mortality within the range between 6.6 percent and 13.2 percent were possible in any refugee camp in the world.

"Mortality figures at welfare centres in the north are within this range which has been acknowledged internationally," he said.

About 300,000 Tamil civilians displaced by the final battles between the government troops and the Tamil Tiger rebels are being housed in several relief camps in the northern Vavuniya and Jaffna districts, waiting to return to their homes.

Sri Lankan security forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May this year after a long drawn war that lasted more than two decades in the island nation.