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Still seeking normalcy

In the last days of Sri Lanka’s war in mid-May 2009, over 300,000 Tamil civilians fled from the war zone and were housed in internment camps in sub-standard conditions. Gradually they have been released from the camps, and the Sri Lankan government has tried to claim credit for a ‘return to normalcy’ or improving conditions.


But a recent report from the OCHA paints a different picture and gives more accurate figures.  


Over 373,000 civilians have been released from the Menik Farm detention centres as of mid May 2011, but more than 16,000, mainly from Mullaitivu, still remain in the Vavuniya camps.


The total population returned to the Northern Province is 373,593 people (114,561 families), the report states, adding that the resettlement of Menik Farm IDPs of Kilinochchi origin is complete.


The vast majority of the remaining 16,401 people (4,981 families) hail from Mullaitivu District. Ongoing de-mining and the failure to release ‘several Grama Niladhari Divisions (GNDs)’ for demining are cited as the reasons for the failure to return these people.


However of the people released, ‘an approximate total of 117,888 IDPs, including from the protracted caseload [were] living with host families in Vavuniya (18,589 persons), Mannar (4,928 persons) and Jaffna (94,371 persons) Districts’ while another ‘1,758 persons (467 families)’ were stranded in transit locations in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya Districts.


See the full report here.

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