ICRC says recent Jaffna battle forced over 160,000 out of their homes

Place: Jaffna | Courtesy: The Island
| Date: 20000903

Heavy fighting between the armed forces and the LTTE in the Jaffna peninsula in late May, forced approximately 160,000 people out of their homes, the ICRC revealed in its latest newsletter. Of them, some ended up in 136 welfare centres set up in Waligamam and Point Pedro. The rest stayed with their friends and relatives, the ICRC said.

Apart from them, over 3000 people had crossed the Jaffna lagoon and taken refuge in the Wanni. Among them were 70 civilians wounded in the crossfire.

This was the first time, the government or a NGO admitted that such a large number of people were forced out of their homes during the recent Jaffna battle that led hundreds dead on both sides.

The ICRC which maintained a 43-member delegation including seven expatriates, in Jaffna during the crisis was able to assist the civilian community.

The ICRC has also supported the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society to provide health care for these newly displaced people. Over 5000 patients were treated, the newsletter said adding that the ICRC was instrumental in helping the displaced persons and their loved ones to keep in contact through its radio network.

The ICRC also said that during the crisis, one of the drawbacks faced by them was the security constraints which impeded the access of humanitarian organisations to large areas close to the fighting zones, where thousands of people remained trapped. "For instance, all efforts made by the ICRC to have access to Thennamarachchi and access the humanitarian needs therein, failed since no conclusive agreement could be reached with the security forces and the LTTE," Jaffna Sub Delegation head Rob Drouen was quoted as saying.

Sunday Sep.03rd,2000

Courtesy : The Island