War-displaced without housing assistance now stranded roofless by heavy rains in Batticaloa

Batticaloa district Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Mr Pon Selvaraja has said that the Sri Lankan state has not taken any step till today to provide permanent housing schemes for people affected by war and natural disasters in the Batticaloa district. In 2006, all civilians fled from their houses to elsewhere for safety when the occupying Sri Lanka Army launched multi-barrel artillery attacks (MBRL) towards Paduvaan-karai. The displaced only received Tarpaulin roofing sheets from NGOs. The SL government omitted the names of the victims from the list of displaced families disabling them from receiving cash relief or dry rations. The argument put forward by the Colombo government at that time was that the occupying Special Task Force (STF), a notorious commando unit under the SL police deployed in combat operations, was providing protection to the displaced people.

Five years have elapsed after the war in the region, but the affected families are still living in temporary sheds, the MP said.

Mini-cyclones had attacked Vellaave’li and in the last disaster temporary sheds in which about 250 families were living were blown off, Mr Selvarajah said.

Vellaave’li, Vavu’na-theevu, Ea’raavoorpattu, a portion of Chengkaladi, Koa’ralaippattu South and Koa’ralaippattu North in Batticaloa district have been worst affected by war and natural disaster.

Permanent housing schemes were established in Koa’ralaippattu with the assistance of non-governmental organizations. But people in other affected areas are still residing in temporary shelters, he said after concluding a visit to villages in Vellaave’li DS division in Batticaloa.

Displaced people of Poochchukkoodu 16th Colony that is situated along the border of the districts of Batticaloa and Ampaa’rai were resettled later without being provided any assistance.

According to reports in media about four thousand houses are to be given to affected people under the Indian Housing Scheme. The TNA MP from Batticaloa said it was not enough to accommodate all affected people in the Batticaloa district.

Even after their sufferings were brought to the of the SL ministers, deputy minister and the Chief Minister at several District Development Committee meetings no positive steps have been taken to alleviate their sufferings, the TNA parliamentarian further said.

The families are now living with fear due to wild elephant menace following the rainy season, he added.

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