Sixteen Lankan refugee families due here on Feb. 14 | Sunday Observer

Sixteen Lankan refugee families due here on Feb. 14

Sixteen Sri Lankan refugee families will return to the country on February 14 facilitated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The first group of 34 refugees to return in 2019, will arrive from Madurai, Tiruchirappalli and Chennai on flights UL 138, 132, 122. According to sources of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Resettlement the group were residents of Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Trincomalee.

The UNHRC is facilitating their return by providing monetary assistance for airline tickets and other expenses. The Ministry of Rehabilitation and Resettlement is also assisting the return of the Sri Lankans, the sources said. The UNHRC will open accounts at the Bank of Ceylon Airport branch for each returning passenger with an initial deposit of Rs. 10,000 per adult and Rs. 5,000 per child. The UNHRC will also cover the transport costs of the returnees by providing Rs. 2,500 per person. It will also provide another Rs. 15, 000 for other expenses, the sources said.

The Ministry of Rehabilitation and Resettlement will provide Rs. 25,000 for each family to construct a temporary shelter and another Rs. 3,000 for its initial costs and Rs. 5,000 will be provided to clear the land on their return.

Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy said another 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees are living in India. “Of the 100,000, 65,000 persons remain in refugee camps while 35,000 are living in various areas across India,” he said.

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