Aid workers on their way out of northern Sri Lanka have not only left thousands of displaced civilians a worried lot but their exit is likely to hamper the work and safety of the government representatives posted in the embattled districts.
The district representative, a Sri Lankan civil service official, is known as the government agent (GA). A GA is the administrative head of a district, very much like the district collector in India. They have to maintain a delicate balance between working in a hostile environment — they work in at least two districts which are under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) — and administrative work. “It will not be easy for public servants to work in these areas anymore. With the international NGOs around, we were a bit more confident. But with their exit, that confidence is gone,’’ the Mullaitivu GA, Emilda Sukumar, told HT on phone. Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi are the two districts where the fighting between the armed forces and the LTTE is intensifying.
Sukumar said with the umbrella of the INGOs gone, the GAs could be under more threat from the LTTE. “We live in fear. Now it will be worse,” she said, adding that the government had to ask aid workers to leave because of the worsening war situation.
At least 35 LTTE cadres were killed in continuing clashes across the northern districts in the last 24 hours.