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Lankans look for Indian tents

North East districts need 50,000 tents urgently, reports PK Balachanddran.
PTI | By PK Balachanddran, Colombo
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2005 06:13 PM IST

The tsunami-hit North Eastern districts of Sri Lanka urgently need 50,000 tents to house refugee families, now put up in large, crowded camps with no privacy of any kind and India is being looked at as a preferred source.

"Sri Lanka as a whole needs about 500,000 tents. The North East alone needs 50,000," says Chandru Pararajasingham, Programme Director of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), the premier NGO in the Tamil speaking North East of the country.

"We are reducing the number of large camps and shifting the people to smaller camps of about 50 tents, with each family occupying a tent," he told Hindustan Times in an interview in Colombo.

"The process of shifting out of the larger camps is already on, with some people moving into the houses of relations and friends," he said.

However, only some can do this. The bulk of the inmates of the camps will have to be tents or other temporary shelters for the next three to six months, he says.

Some Western NGOs have supplied plastic tents, but these are too short, says R Nimalan Kathikeyan, of the National Peace Council, who is currently working with the TRO.

"We are looking for tarpaulin tents 11 ft by 11ft. We learn that India produces such tents," Pararajasingham said. And Karthikeyan wondered if any Indian NGO could get these tents down to the Sri Lankan North East quickly.

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