News

Access to Displaced Tamils Better, But Still Limited

The U.N. refugee agency reports access to about 300,000 internally displaced Tamils in northern Sri Lanka is getting better, but remains limited.  The UNHCR says more access is needed to provide critical aid to the many people living in dire conditions in cramped camps. 

The U.N. refugee agency says about 300,000 internally displaced people are living in 40 emergency shelter sites spread across the districts of Vavuniya, Jaffna and Trincomalee.

Spokesman Ron Redmond says the UNHCR and partners are carrying out emergency shelter work, regular non-food distributions and protection monitoring to ensure people are receiving the help they need.

Still not adequate


He tells VOA there has been an improvement in access to the sites in the past week.  But, it still is not adequate considering the urgent needs that must be addressed.  He says emergency shelter, water and sanitation and medical assistance are the most pressing needs.

"Prior to fleeing, a large portion of the population already spent months living in squalid conditions with insufficient food, shelter, proper water and sanitation," said Redmond. "So, as a result, many of the displaced are already suffering from malnourishment and related medical conditions." 

"So, it is difficult to stabilize that situation when you have so many people turning up with so many different problems.  Due to the magnitude of the displacement, overcrowding is another issue that needs to be addressed urgently," he added.  

Working with government

Redmond says the UNHCR is working with the government and shelter agencies to identify additional land to assist people who  are jammed into every available living space in some of these sites.

He says his agency is asking the government to give people in the camps freedom of movement.  He says the UNHCR also is encouraging the government to complete screening as soon as possible and separate the ex-combatants, so the civilian population will be allowed to move freely in and out of the camps.

Redmond says the best way to help restore normalcy to peoples' lives is to get them home as soon as possible, as soon as conditions allow.

"This includes addressing security issues-de-mining and removal of unexploded ordnance," he said. "We have also got to do, what we call, village profile assessments, which helps to assess the level of damage.  There needs to be reconstruction of damaged homes.  There needs to be reconstruction of infrastructure if it has been damaged and that includes roads and public buildings." 

Redmond says livelihoods have to be developed, jobs have to be created and the civil administration has to be revived in the affected districts and provinces.  He notes a lot of work has to be done before people can really feel comfortable about going home, and staying home.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs