Kantale, Sep 7 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Refugees among Refugees

People of Thoppor are displaced due to the escalated violence, on August 4th 2006. They are staying in a road side welfare camp in Perathuveli, Kantale. There are 155 families (800 persons) living here on a road side welfare camp, next to a railway track. It's known as railway track welfare camp.

They face a lot of hardships such as over crowded welfare camps, no proper place to stay when raining, no schooling for their children, no jobs for the males. Some males go to their home towns daily to work and earn. They return to their respective welfare camps in the nights, because they do not feel safe in their home towns to stay overnight. It's a long journey.

The farmers have to go to their fields to harvest paddy, but due to fear, they do not go. Paddy go wasted in the fields.

"I am expecting my sixth baby. I am six month pregnant now. It's very difficult to stay in the tent. It leaks, when it rains. And a lot of mosquitoes around us. Nobody is taking care of us. We are a forgotten community" says Fathima Nihara (33) on Thoppour, who is displaced and staying in a roadside welfare camp in Perathuveli, Kantale

Internally displaced people use this creek water to bathe and wash clothes

Most of the tents are soaked in rain water. The people say that they share the space with the needy

"I was affected by December 2004 Tsunami. I lost my house and job. I was living with my parents in a temporary shelter, while I had to flee for my life on August 4th 2006. I was arrested by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. I was released after 20 hours of interrogation. I have to take care of my elderly parents. I do labourer job, and earn a daily income. I can't go back to Thoppor until the safety assurance is given" says Mohamed Irfan (20) of Thoppor

People who have no place to stay, decided to stay on the streets

A Muslim woman washes fish to make curry for lunch for her family

"All the helps are stopped. We were ordered to get back to our home towns. There is no assurance given. But we have no chioce, except to leave. Life here is very difficult. There are snakes in this area. They come in the nights" says Fathima Jemina (40) of Thoppor

"We are not afraid of the snakes" say the children of Thoppor

Women say that, "There is no privacy for them"

Internally displaced people feel that, they have to celebrate the Holy month of Ramadan in September in the welfare camps. Most of them spent the holy month of Ramadan in the welfare camps in 2005, after Tsunami