Donor help to upgrade living standards of resettled - Minister
The Ministry of Resettlement seeks help of the local and
international donors, Tamil diaspora and business community to upgrade
living conditions of nearly 200,000 northern war displaced people who
are resettled now in their own villages.
The total number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) remaining in
welfare camps in Vavuniya has come down to less than 70,000. The
government commenced the resettlement process in August last year, where
over 270,000 civilians sought refuge in state sponsored welfare camps
soon after the military defeated the LTTE in May, 2009.
The Minister of Resettlement Milroy Fernando told the ‘Sunday
Observer’ that he is confident that the entire IDP population could be
resettled within the next six months as the government has given the top
priority to send them home. He said that de-mining which is the main
hindrance in expediting the resettlement process has also been speeded
up to meet the deadline.
“I have found that there are lots of houses with strong foundations,
which could easily be used by the owners.
But they are living in adjoining huts as these houses don’t have a
roof. The LTTE when they were escaping had ordered the civilians to
remove the roof and take them with them”, Minister Fernando who had a
fact-finding tour to Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu said.
He said the housing problem among resettled people could be solved if
they were given financial assistance or donations of roofing sheets.
According to Minister Fernando, each family will be given Rs. 25,000
as a shelter grant but the allocation is not enough to complete the
“Most of these houses don’t have doors and windows.
They need extra financial assistance to complete these houses. The
Army has helped some of the owners to put new roofs”, he said.
The new Minister of Resettlement is also planning to find donors to
help the resettled families to boost their economic standards by
providing fishing gear and agricultural equipment to start their
“I have already discussed these aspects with a Japanese INGO, whom I
met on Friday. They expressed their willingness to help the resettled
people to provide facilities and upgrade their financial situation”, he
The Minister also stressed the need of getting assistance for roofing
for some of the schools in the North. He said that those local and
international NGOs and well-wishers could contact his Ministry for
further details and they also could sponsor repair to individual houses
According to the UNHCR, over 207,000 IDPs have left the welfare camps
in the North and East since August last year and they have either
returned to their homes under the resettlement process or are living
with their friends and relatives.
Minister Fernando said that the resettlement process had been speeded
up after a short pause due to the Parliamentary polls and over 7,000
IDPs had returned to Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu after the elections.
Meanwhile, India is paying its concerns to expediting and resettling
the remaining 70,000 IDPs in welfare camps, Indian External Affairs
Minister S.M. Krishan has discussed the issue with Sri Lanka’s External
Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris at the SAARC summit.