Poisonous plants kill two

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 January 1999, 16:40 GMT]
Two women died and two others fell seriously ill after eating the tuber of 'Alli', a local species of the water lily in Mulliyawalai area, sources in Vanni said. They said the women were among the regionís displaced who had not had been able to get any food for a long time, and in desperation had looked for tubers and roots.

They are among the thousands in the Vanni to whom the government cut off dry rations and relief assistance in July 1998, said the sources.

Mullaithivu hospital sources said that the dead were Suppiah Sinnammah (40) and Santhalingam Renuka (18).

Suppiah Santhalingam (35) [father of Renuka) and Pathmanathan Sooti (35) have been admitted to Mullaithivu hospital.

Sources said that these people are natives of Panichchankulam in the Murasumoddai area who had been displaced due to military operations and had sought refuge at Maavadipilavu in Mulliyawalai.

The Sri Lankan government had cut relief assistance to about 150,000 refugees in July, but had agreed to restore it to about 52,000 in December 1998, according to aid workers.

Thousands of refugee families demonstrated and held hunger strikes demanding the government permit relief assistance and supplies of dry rations.

Sources in the Vanni said that more than 200 people are still holding a hunger strike opposite the UNHCR office in Mallavi for the 103rd day running.


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