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Thousands of Tamils yet to be resettled

As the government begins celebrating two years of its military victory against the Tamil rebels, tens of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are yet to be permanently resettled in the war ravaged northern districts.

world Updated: May 20, 2011 00:35 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

As the government begins celebrating two years of its military victory against the Tamil rebels, tens of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are yet to be permanently resettled in the war ravaged northern districts.

Latest updates from the United Nations (UN) reveal that more than 117888 IDPs were yet to be resettled.

This means two things: firstly, two years after the war these IDPs do not have a home of their own and secondly they were far from being rehabilitated with new sources of livelihoods.

“By May 13, 2011, there was an approximate total of 117,888 IDPs, including from the protracted caseload, living with host families in Vavuniya (18,589 persons), Mannar (4,928 persons) and Jaffna (94,371 persons) districts,” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said this week in the new update.

This was above the number of 16,401 IDPs, including more than 5000 children still staying in camps in Vavunyia district. The districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu were worst affected in the final phase of the ethnic conflict that ended in May, 2009.

The report added that the recently finalised WFP Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) covering the north, north-central and eastern provinces concluded that “widespread food insecurity persists due to limited food production and high food prices.”

“The Northern Province, in particular, is characterised by severe and widespread poverty consequent to poorly developed livelihoods, a lack of employment opportunities (including delayed livelihood assistance) and high food prices, combined with low purchasing power. While income levels have seen some improvement (except in Kilinochchi District), the majority of the population lives below the poverty line, surviving on less than US$1 daily,” the report added.

On a broader positive note, the report noted that 373,593 persons (114,561 families) had returned to their districts of origin. And in Jaffna district, the government has released several areas from a military high security zone where more than 12000 displaced could now hope to return.