Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vavunia : Over 300 disgruntled families protest at camp's main gate

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Refugee camps in northern Sri Lanka are swamped by flooding, endangering Tamils displaced by the country's recently ended civil war, the United Nations said.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said three days of heavy rains and flash flooding damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 shelters and sanitation facilities in the camps, CNN reported Tuesday.

An internal U.N. memo obtained by CNN indicated more than 300 families marched to the main access gate at one camp to protest the conditions.

"Though ... not violent, they seemed disgruntled and agitated due to the sufferings and expressed their resentment by hooting and making noises," the memo read.

The camps, strung across northern Sri Lanka, house about 280,000 people displaced in the final months of the 20-year-long civil war, CNN said. The flooding was ahead of Sri Lanka's monsoon season, typically from October until January.

"If the rain continues, which is very likely, then the overall situation may go out of control of the management and lead to serious security threat," the memo said, adding that contingency plans were being "discussed and worked out."

The international group Human Rights Watch has called for the release of Tamil civilians living in the camps, saying they are being confined against their will, CNN reported.

© United Press International

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Floods hit Sri Lanka refugee camps - CNN

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