Refugee camps are over-crowded and sanitary facilities almost non-existent.

Place: Vanni | Courtesy: British Refugee Council
| Date: 19961100

"If exhausted refugees imagined that entry into Vavuniya town from Tiger-controlled Vanni region would bring them respite, they were sadly mistaken. After restrictions at Thandikulam checkpoint were lifted on 22 October, around 16,000 people from the north entered Vavuniya.

All of them were held for screening in 11 refugee camps seven of which are schools. Currently 8,000 refugees remain in these camps. Around 1,800 have left for Trincomalee to travel to Jaffna and only 300 have been allowed into the capital Colombo. Over 400 young men and women have been detained in special camps for several weeks.

The camps are over-crowded and sanitary facilities almost non-existent. According to the Red Cross officer Sivanathan Kishore three children have died of disease. There are only few toilets and water supply is inadequate. Tearful refugees told visiting UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardena that they were being held like prisoners against their will.

... Pregnant women have been denied access to the hospital and one woman has died in labour. The Vavuniya hospital which has only six wards with 180 beds is currently treating over 1,500 patients a day. Many patients have to sleep on the floor. Sixty percent of the hospital staff were afflicted by a viral disease in early November. Reports say some doctors and nurses have not been paid wages for the last few months."

British Refugee Council Publication . Sri Lanka Monitor November 1996