Kumburupiddy displaced struggle for survival

[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 November 2002, 00:54 GMT]
Hundreds of displaced Tamil families returned from Vanni to resettle, live in temporary sheds put up with cadjan dried leaves in Kumburupiddy, a traditional Tamil village twenty two km north of Trincomalee district, waiting assistance to reconstruct their destroyed houses and to rehabilitate their lives. They were driven out of Kumburupiddy when SLA soldiers moved into the village in 1990, returnees said.


Kumburupiddy displaced
Three children of the landless displaced families sit on a wall near the damaged school at Kumburupiddy
Kumburupiddy village bounded east by sea and west by hillock called Vellapa malai lies between the two rivers called Salapai aru and Irrakandy. The village has been blessed with fertile land suitable for cash crops such as onions and groundnuts.

Following the occupation by the SLA in 1990, the entire village was displaced. At that time more than eight hundred families lived in the village. Total population of the village was more than five thousand. Almost all the houses, majority of them made of brick, were destroyed by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). All public buildings such as the post office, schools, dispensary and other buildings had been destroyed. Only foundations are seen, village level officials said.

"Till Friday about five hundred displaced families have returned from Vanni. Daily one or two displaced families return from Vanni," a village lever officer told Tamilnet.


Kumburupiddy displaced
One of the Vanni returnees live in a cadjan shed in her land with her daughter, granddaughter at Kumburupiddy






















Some displaced live in their lands by putting up small cadjan huts and cultivating small plots with groundnuts and onions. Their permanent houses are still seen roofless and in ruined state.


Kumburupiddy displaced
Damaged school building converted as rooms with palmyrah leaves























Some Vanni returnees live in a damaged school building with their families. Kamalini, a mother of three children, said they find it difficult to run their day to day lives with meager money they get from local non-governmental organizations. Before they left Kumburupiddy village in 1990, they occupied state lands and now those lands have been earmarked for use by the National Youth Services Council (NYSC). On their return they have been refused land to resettle and they could find only damaged school buildings as temporary shelter, she said.

Village level officers said they are also trying their best to identify state lands to settle the displaced people with no land of their own. The matter has been brought to the notice of the international non-governmental organizations and other authorities concerned.

However, social activists said there is no dearth of state lands in Kumburupiddy village and its immediate surroundings.


Kumburupiddy displaced
A house destroyed by the SLA in 1990














"It is a pity to note that the authorities concerned are not moving fast to alleviate the sufferings of the displaced now held up in damaged school buildings in the village. How long could they live in such places?" a village level officer asked.

Until lands are allocated to them to permanently settle they are determined to stay in the damaged school buildings, one of the returnees said.

 

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