At least 90 families in Oottuch-cheanai, a village situated 75 km north-west of Batticaloa city, have been displaced and sought asylum in a school following a mini-cyclone that hit Paduvaankarai area in the Koa’ra’laip-pattu South division of Batticaloa district on Monday. The villagers, who have displaced several times since 1990, each time following large-scale military operation by the Sri Lankan military, have been completely neglected throughout the years without proper humanitarian assistance, civil sources in Batticaloa said. International NGOs also face restrictions to visit the area while Colombo government has grabbed around 25 thousand acres of land in Vadamunai and Oottuch-cheanai, handing over the lands to Sinhala home guards.
The locality of Oottuch-cheanai and Vadamunai in Paduvaankarai region
350 Tamil families live in Vadamunai and Oottuch-cheanai without facilities.
The Sinhala ‘home guards’ (SL Civil Defence Force) who chase Tamils from Vadamunai are provided with housing facilities and other basic amenities.
The Tamils who have resettled on their own live in poverty without basic livelihood assistance and other relief.
After being chased out of their village in 1990, they were able to return to their lands in 2002 following the ceasefire agreement between the then Sri Lanka Government and the Tigers.
During that period too they were not provided with permanent houses.
The Tamil villagers were again uprooted in 2007 following attacks by the occupying Sri Lanka Army and the ‘home guards’.
They were resettled again in 2009 but were still residing there in temporary huts.
Several non-governmental organizations (NGO) have been functioning in Batticaloa district but not a single NGO has shown any interest in implementing a permanent housing scheme for these resettled villagers, civil sources said.
Now, there are also restrictions being imposed on visiting NGOs.
The Colombo government had been planning to take over Vadamunai-Ooththuchchenai villages since 1978.