Oct 25, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government said today that it plans to resettle all the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) remaining in the welfare camps by the end of this year.
According to the Ministry of Resettlement the total number of IDPs remaining to be resettled dropped to 18, 799 with the 17,641 people still in the Vavuniya relief villages and another 1,158 IDPs remaining in Jaffna.
During the decisive final phase of the war in May 2009 an estimated 280,000 people in the North fled the battlefields and sought shelter from the Sri Lankan security forces.
The government housed them in hastily built camps, mainly in the Manik Farm village of Vavuniya. The camps initially came under criticism from international humanitarian organizations for lack of facilities to attend to the needs of such a massive group of displaced.
The government's speedy resettlement program however, within an 18-month period has sent over 260,000 IDPs back to their original homes after the areas have been cleared from buried mines.
The resettlement of these IDP is taking place regularly, the government says. The government provides dry rations for a period of six months to families resettled until they find livelihood assistance in addition to an initial payment of Rs 25,000 at the time of resettlement.
The World Food Programme is currently providing the food rations to IDPs located in camps, welfare centres and host families in addition to the dry rations provided through the government to the resettled families.
According to security sources the remaining IDPs too will be resettled before the end of the year in their villages once the ongoing mine clearing process is completed. Last Monday, 430 IDPs were resettled in the Oddusudan area.