Government announces 41,000 Tamil refugees going home
According to the authorities, 10,017 people are going to Poonakary and Karachchi, Kilinochchi district; 6,631 will travel to the city of Mannar; 16,394 to Oddusudan, Manthai-East and Thunukkai, Mullativue district, and another 2,583 families will be resettled in Vavuniya. They will join another 50,000 who were resettled in the past few months.
The government will provide each family with Rs 25,000 (US$ 220), kitchen utensils, farm implements, and roofing sheets to start a new life as well as six months worth of dry rations.
In a letter to each IDP family, President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated his government’s goal of providing them with a “new” and more “acceptable” life, whilst reminding them of the “violence” perpetrated by the rebels.
The resettlement programme is coming a few weeks after President Rajapaksa met a delegation of Indian lawmakers and reassured them that resettlement would be done by mid-October.
In New Delhi, Indian officials seem satisfied with the IDP resettlement programme, but Preneet Kaur, one of India’s ministers of state for External Affairs, said that it should go “faster”.
Indian authorities are worried about sanitary conditions in IDP camps because the rainy season is just around the corner. With rains flooding the camps, the emergency is bound to get even worse.
Even with 41,000 going home, most refugees, about 160,000 in all, are still in camps.