80% of Houses in Jaffna damaged.

Place: Jaffna | Courtesy: BritishRefugee Council
| Date: 19970700

"IN a petition to the visiting Colombo Anglican Bishop Kenneth Fernando in early July, the Jaffna NGO Consortium says that Jaffna people face enormous difficulties in day-to-day life.

Military operations have damaged 80% of the 176,300 houses in the peninsula. Over 17,000 houses have been completely destroyed.... A number of houses and schools are occupied by the Army. People complain that a large number of trees, including coconut and palmyrah trees providing livelihood, are being cut down for military use...

A UN mission to Jaffna in June recognised the need for settlement assistance. UN agencies are providing Rs 133 million ($2.6 million) for rehabilitation, education and health projects. A number of governments and international NGOs will promote health and agriculture. Reconstruction is proceeding at a slow pace. According to reports it takes four months to transport goods by ship to Jaffna. Permits from the Defence Ministry are always delayed and costs of shipping have considerably increased in recent months...

The Jaffna hospital lacks ventilators, oxygen and beds and doctors are finding it difficult to treat patients seriously ill. Reports say the mortality rate in the Premature Baby Unit rose to 46% in June primarily due to equipment shortage. Jaffna University’s Dr N Sivarajah says landmines kill or seriously injure at least ten people every month and has called for action to remove landmines before implementing reconstruction programmes." (British Refugee Council Publication Sri Lanka Monitot, July 1997)