Tamils Facing Misery, Says Surviving Moderate Tamil Leader

Describing plight of Sri Lankan Tamilis in relief camps as “horrible, a Tamil leader has demanded that the government resettle civilians back to their homes as early as possible.

V Anandasangaree, the chief of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) said that hundreds of thousands of Tamil in camps face misery and hardship.

Detailing on their plight, he said that Tamil civilians have problems with food, health and sanitation in camps in northern Sri Lanka.

V Anandasangaree is one of the few remaining long-serving moderate Tamil political leaders in Sri Lanka. He has strongly supported the government’s stance against the rebels.

“From the reports I get from the people [in the camps] they are good in some areas and horrible in many,” Anandasangaree said.

He termed health, water and sanitation situation in camps as “horrible”, saying that many people are having skin diseases as they didn’t get to have a bath for days because of water shortage.

“Pregnant mothers and newborn babies go through a harrowing time in the camps due to scorching heat,” he said.

According to the UN figures, almost 300,000 people have been displaced by recent army offensive against Tamil rebels. The displaced civilians have been sheltered in various camps, most of them in Menik Farm, near the northern town of Vavuniya.

In the Menik Farm camp site, which the UN rates as the world’s largest displacement camp, around 220,000 people displaced by the fighting are housed.

The Sri Lankan government accepts that conditions in some of the camps are not ideal but says facilities have been improved in many other camps. It says more land is also being allocated to build new camps to decongest those already full.

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