Vaharai IDPs I

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Civilians in Vaharai are displaced in several refugee camps in Batticaloa district due to the escalating violence recently. There are 2,304 persons- 713 families are living in Vinayagapuram refugee camp in Valaichchenai. Among them are 1,096 males and 1,208 females living here.

Most of them are fishing folks from Vaharai. They were affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, and are still in the midst of rebuilding their lives, and livelihoods.

"I am eight month pregnant. I am expecting my first baby. I do not know where I am going to deliver my baby. Although I am excited to be pregnant, but I do not know what the future holds for me" says Thaventhini Thavendran (21) of Vaharai

People were unable to bring all their belongings with them from Vaharai

"I am a fisherman. I was affected by Tsunami in 2004. I lost my fishing boat, fishing net and house. I am displaced again from my house. I don't have any income to take care of my family" says Ramasamy Gunasekaram (42) from Ooriyankattu

Pavalarani Arumugam (50) makes Rotty for lunch for her family under a makeshift shelter in a refugee camp

Civilians have fled from vaharai in thousands, and reached Batticaloa town by foot or by boat.

"I had to cross Thattimunai river by foot.It took one hour for me to cross the river in heavy rain. The water level of the river was up to to my neck.Thereafter I have walked through the jungle for almost two days.As the journey was difficult I left all my belongings. I did not bring anything, except the cloth I wore" says Thangammah Thambipillai (50) of Puliyankandal

Children at Vinayagapuram refugee camp in Valaichchenai- Batticaloa district

Men say that, they don't have any income due to displacement

Women say that, there is no privacy in the refugee camp as they are sharing the space with a lot of people

Internally Displaced Persons are taking a rest under Margosa trees in Vinayagapuram