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6 lakh in Jaffna hit by Lanka crisis: UNICEF

Many people have no work and transportation into Jaffna is limited to air and sea, a UN report said.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2006 16:16 IST

The prolonged conflict between the Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan government has affected nearly six lakh people in the country's Jaffna Peninsula who are now facing food and fuel shortages due to closure of many businesses, a UNICEF report has said.

Many people have no work and transportation into Jaffna is currently limited to air and sea. In the town, long queues form outside food shops, says the report.

Although the government is continuing to bring in supplies by ship and has set up a rationing system, there is still a shortage of flour, rice, sugar and lentils.

On the black market, prices are skyrocketting with sugar and petrol prices sold at four times their normal prices.

More than 50,000 people have been displaced across the peninsula by renewed fighting between the separatists and government forces.

Many of them have taken shelter in the houses of their relatives and friends, while others have gathered at temporary accommodation centres, the report said.

Quoting the experiences of 10-years-old Jeyapiria Jeyaratnam, the UN's Children's Fund said: "A shell landed on our village and I was wounded in the leg. I've seen a lot of fighting. I hear noises in the night and I'm very scared. I feel that a shell is going to fall here, and I get frightened when I hear about fighting on the radio."

"We lost everything, even our clothes," said her mother adding that the family decided to sleep in a church.

UNICEF said it has been working with the government and other partners to help the displaced families in the area.

First Published: Oct 30, 2006 13:52 IST