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Tamil civilians return back to homes in govt held areas

[PTI, Wednesday, 21 January 2009 07:40 No Comment]

More and more Tamil civilians trapped in the fighting in northern Sri Lanka are surfacing and coming over to government-controlled areas during the last few days.

As town after town controlled by the LTTE fell to the offensive launched by the Sri Lankan forces in the last one year, officials had been mystified as all these cities were ghost towns with no residents.
And it was apparent that either the Tigers had taken away the local population or they had gone with them voluntarily as they took shelter in the thick jungles — their last refuge.

But now a trickle of these Tamils have started their return back home.

According to new estimates, as many as 2057 Tamil civilians have quit the LTTE areas and sought refuge with the Sri Lankan Army in the last few days and International Red Cross has rushed in more staff to Wanni region to cope up with the challenging task of rehabilitating them.

"The new situation has made it necessary for the ICRC to bring in more international and national staff to manage the convoys and communicate with the parties on the ground," said Paul Castella, the ICRC’s head of delegation to the Wanni.

The number of Internally Displaced Persons seeking refuge with the Government authorities surpassed the 2,000 mark on Monday as the Government reiterated that arrangements were in place to help displaced civilians.

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