Excerpts from Vocie Of America News
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne says the impact of the floods upon people who were caught up in the later stages of the long-running civil war between the government and Tamil Tigers is particularly harsh.
He says about 300,000 people were displaced by the fighting in early 2009. Most were interned in government-controlled camps. He says people began returning home in October 2009 to areas, which now are reeling from the floods.
"Right now, there are about 18,000 people still in camps from that original 300,000. But, everybody else has returned. But, the areas they have returned to were devastated by the war. Almost all the houses were destroyed and most of the infrastructure. There is a huge amount of work done over the last year to help them to return and to help them start to rebuild their life, whether it is in terms of their house, rebuilding schools, rebuilding government structures, rebuilding livelihoods and most importantly rebuilding communities," Buhne said.
UN Coordinator Buhne says many areas are still heavily infested with landmines and this is why the 18,000 Tamils are remaining in the camp. He says they are not interned and they can move around freely. He says they will leave once their home areas have been cleared of mines.
On the other hand, he notes some 5,000 suspected ex-combatants are being held in internment camps. He says their movements are restricted and no time has been set for their release.