38,127 IDPs left in Sri Lankan relief camps

Last Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 20:31

Colombo: Sri Lanka has settled over 80
per cent displaced Tamils with only 38,127 people left in the
welfare centres which initially had over 2.7 lakh IDPs.

The number of IDP zones has also come down with only
four such zones in the Menik Farm relief village due to the
speedy re-settlement, Sri Lanka`s Chief Coordinating Officer
of the Competent Office for IDPs in Vavuniya Colonel
Vadugodapitiya said.
He said of the 297,000 who had been displaced, more
than 80 per cent have now been resettled. The Government will
resettle another 3,000 IDPs in Karachchi, Kilinochchi by 26th
of this month (July).

Accordingly, three groups will be resettled on 18, 22
and 26 of July. The Sri Lankan Government has worked
vigorously over the last year to resettle people affected by
the war.

"In one year`s time, we have achieved a great deal.
If you look at countries in these kinds of situations, it has
taken them 20 years, 30 years," said Minister of External
Affairs G L Peiris.

During a meeting with Minister Peiris on May 28, US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commended Sri Lanka on
efforts to resettle IDPs saying, "There has been tremendous
progress and many thousands and thousands of such internally
displaced persons have returned home," she had said in
Washington.
Meanwhile, An area of 1113 square kilometres, out of
1,474 square kilometres in over 640 villages in Kilinochchi,
Mullativu and Mannar in North has been de-mined, reports
state.

According to the Economic Development Ministry, Jaffna
district has been completely de-mined. Thus, an estimated 1.5
million land mines has been de-mined utilising manual methods
and machinery specially imported for this purpose.

The Ministry of Economic Development has provided 29
flail machines to the security forces for de-mining operations
and 1,050 security personnel are being deployed in de-mining
activities.

Eight sniff-dogs have also been used to locate mines
in areas that cannot be penetrated by flail machines, an
official statement said.

In addition, one local and six selected foreign
organisations are also involved in the de-mining activities.
These organisations use six additional flail machines with a
workforce of 2013 persons.

The Government spent SLRs. 2,180 million for de-mining
activities in 2009. It has also conducted 17,654 programmes up
to May 2010, sponsored by the UNICEF to enlighten the masses
about the dangers of land mines.

"The Government hopes to de-mine the rest of areas
in Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullativu and Kilinochchi as early as
possible and resettle people in these areas," the statement
said.

The Ministry of Economic Development is the nodal
ministry for carrying out all infrastructure work required for
these activities.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 20:31

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