Urgent need for heavy machinery in Jaffna- Ilamparithy

[TamilNet, Monday, 03 January 2005, 11:24 GMT]
Jaffna District Leader of LTTE Political Wing, S Ilamparithy, talking to TamilNet correspondent in Jaffna said that assistance from Sri Lanka Government in supplying heavy machinery required for removal of debris and to reconstruct badly damaged rural and coastal roads have not reached areas of devastation in Jaffna. This has impeded relief supplies reaching many coastal communities and has stalled speedy recovery from the tsunami disaster, he added.

IlamparithyTamilNet: Can you give an overview of the situation in the Jaffna District after the Tsunamic devastation?

Ilamparithi: Vadamarachi East- Maruthankerny Assistant Government Agent’s (AGA's) Division and Pt.Pedro AGA’s Division have experienced the most devastation. In our area, the death toll is about 2000 whereas in the army controlled area the death toll was 107 and about 3000 were injured. About 30,000 families are displaced and they are being looked after in 32 welfare centres. Their urgent humanitarian needs have been provided by our coordinating secretariat. At this stage the Sri Lanka government's assistance has not fully reached the displaced. NGOs are also providing some assistance. We have been providing the essential services in these welfare centres with the assistance provided by the people and public institutions.

Buildings along the shore have been completely damaged. Now we are removing the debris and other rotten, putrid remains of fish and animals from the shorelines and interior parts where sea water went in. So far the government assistance for debris removal has been non-existent. The possibilities of infectious diseases spreading in the region is high. In Katkovalam a person has been identified with cholera. We are taking action and instituting procedures in wefare camps to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

We need more humanitarian assistance especially cloths for women and children, medicine and footwear. We request the international organizations and others to provide the necessary assistance. We are functioning through a secretariat comprising of the Liberation Tigers, Government units, NGOs and public organization.

TamilNet: How are you going to face the possibility of spreading of infectious diseases?

Ilamparithy: Our health sector, that is the Tamil Eelam Health Service, in collaboration with the regional and provincial health personnel, has started identifying problem areas and taking steps to prevent such calamity.

TamilNet: You said that there was delay on the part of the government in sending relief

Ilamparithy: This devastation is common to all, irrespective of caste or race. It is the duty of the government to come to the assistance of the affected people without delay. But the lethargic attitude of the Sri Lanka government has not helped to alleviate the suffering of the people in the NorthEast.

TamilNet: Has this disaster highlighted the urgency of having an Interim Administration, such as the Interim Self-Gvoerning Authority (ISGA)?

Ilamparithy: We realized this need long ago, that’s why we proposed the ISGA, but the government has not accepted it. Neither the government nor the non governmental organizations are fully able to meet the needs of people in the NorthEast. In this situation, it is the Tigers who have organized, coordinated and are distributing essential items.

TamilNet: Economic and financial assistance from the international community may be forthcoming. How would you ensure that the relevant fraction reaches the NorthEast?

Ilamparithy: It is the North-East of SriLanka that was mostly affected. But the government and the South Srilankan media are highlighting the Southern calamity and do not give media coverage to the North-East devastation. They want to show the outside world that the South has been more affected. The LTTE should have a self governing unit if the aid is to be utilized properly.

TamilNet: There is a stalemate in the peace talks. The recent devastation has pushed it to the back stage. What are the prospects of talks continuing?

Ilamparithy: We have made it very clear that we are prepared for the talks from where we left and on the basis of the ISGA.

TamiNet: What can the International community do to assist resumption of talks?

Ilamparithy: International community is very clear about the situation. The European Union, U.S.A and Japan sent their representatives to meet the President and impress on her the importance of starting the peace talks. We welcome this move.

TamilNet: Are you sending your sympathies to people affected in other parts of SriLanka.

Ilamparithy: Our leader Pirapaharan in his address to his people has expressed his sympathies and the sympathies of the Tamil people to all those, Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils affected by the disaster. Likewise we have sent assistance to all affected people in North – East.

TamilNet: Tamil people are affected in India?

Ilamparithy: They are our brothers and sisters. We feel their sufferings and our sympathies are with them.


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