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Self-isolating families in Mannar left starving as Sri Lankan government fails to deliver promised COVID-19 relief items

Quarantined house in Mannar

Mannar district council member, Anthonyamma Sritharan, blasted the Sri Lankan government for its mismanagement and neglect in appropriately providing self-isolating families in Mannar with COVID-19 relief items.

She stated that the families were pushed to the brink of starvation as they were receiving half of their promised rations, and also receiving the items up to 10-12 days into their quarantine period.

Anthonyamma noted that the families affected by COVID-19 have not only been left without regular promised government support but have been unable to leave their homes to get the necessary items, which has pushed them into a severely difficult position and many starving.

Mannar city councillor - Anthonyamma Sritharan

Initially, the Sri Lankan government had widely reported and promised that it would provide dry food items worth 10,000 LKR to isolating families. However, families within the Mannar district have only received a maximum of 5,000 LKR worth of dry food rations.

The irregular delivery of rations by the government alongside the militarised response to a health crisis has compounded the suffering of Tamil people across the North-East.  In a region that is heavily militarised, state forces have abused their powers and subjected Tamil and Muslim communities to harassment and violence under the guise of enforcing COVID-19 regulations. In recent weeks Sri Lankan soldiers forced locals from the Muslim-majority Eravur area, to kneel with their hands held up on the roadside for allegedly violating lockdown restrictions and in Mullaitivu, a Tamil youth was assaulted by police officers for allegedly not wearing a mask in public. 

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