By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
IDPs at Kiran Grounds Welfare camp:
The fierce fighting in the East forced the civilians to flee.
They started to flee from Vakarai since December 2006.
Some of them took the jungle route by foot, after crossing the Thattimunai river.
A few of them crossed the border by sea.
There are 134 families-591 persons sought shelter in Kiran Grounds Welfare camp according to the camp official. The most of the refugees here are from Vakarai and Kathiraveli, some of them have fled Sampoor last year, and lived in Vakarai, before fleeing from Vakarai.
“I missed my son Rajendran (44), while leaving Vakarai. He is a mentally retarded person. I am worried about him, and don’t know his whereabouts” says Sellaiah Ramupillai (72), who is a farmer from Kathiraveli
Refugees want to return to their houses,but fear for their safety
Men neither have fixed job nor steady income
“I had a grinding mill in Kathiraveli. I spent a lot of money to buy the grinding machine to grind rice, grains, and chillie to earn an income. I could not bring the grinding machine with me, while fleeing. I do not know whether my grinding machine is stolen or still there” queries Damayanthini Ekamparam Suvendrarajah (29)
Refugees share the space with their villagers and others
Refugees say that they get dry rations, but they need other spices to make a complete meal
Women in the welfare camps sell their jewelleries to meet their daily expenses
“I had a land master and other tools used for farming. I left all of them, while fleeing for my life. I cannot afford to buy them again” says Sokkalingam Theivendran (42), a farmer from Kathiraveli
Welfare camps are already cramped,and there is no privacy
Parents are concerned about their children’s education
Refugees are worried about the escalating violence
Children want to go back to school
Women used to make cane products before the displacement
Refugees in this welfare camp have been living here for more than two months
The people of Vakarai had been affected by the Boxing day Tsunami
They are used to makeshift shelter life
Mothers say that, they do not eat nutritious food,and unable to breast feed their babies.And they have no money to buy infant food
Children want more space to play
The influx of tens of thousands of civilians keeps increasing
A large number of civilians continue to escape the fighting and seek shelter in welfare camps