350,000 people in Wanni starving

Place: Wanni | Courtesy: The Island
| Date: 19991205

The Bishop of Mannar, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, who visited the Wanni area at the weekend, declared yesterday that most of the 350,000 people living in the district are starving. The Bishop has requested the Governor of the North-East Province, Major General Ashoka Jayawardena to take immediate action to send food to the Wanni area.

The Vicar General of the Mannar Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Xavier Croos, has sent a Ietter to the Governor on behalf of the Bishop saying that food had not been available in Wanni from October 16. The paddy the people had, has been all used for seed paddy and no fishing is possible in this rainy season.

"Thus most of the people are starving and the situation of the children who keep on crying to their helpless parents for food is an unbearable and a common sight there. His Lordship requests Your Excellency to take immediate action to send food to Wanni where there are nearly 350,000 people", he has said.

The Bishop has also brought to the notice of the Governor that due to the present disturbance in the main land area of the district of Mannar, 90% of its paddy cultivation is about to be abandoned, threatening an year of starvation in the year 2000 in the district.

Meanwhile the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Conference of Religious Superiors in a joint declaration has called upon the Government and the LTTE to declare Madhu a Zone of Peace under the supervision of the Church.

In a joint declaration, they have recalled that 38 people were killed in the recent attacks on the Madhu shrine and that at present 16,000 refugees from surrounding areas have moved in to the church seeking security and refuge.

They have also called on the government and the LTTE to allow all pilgrims or any person who seeks refuge in the Shrine to be allowed to come in without any difficulty and also to ensure that no armed persons are allowed into the shrine reservation.

Courtesy: The Island - Thursday Nov:2nd, 1999