500 HOUSES FOR WAR REFUGEES IN PUTTLAM WHO WERE CHASED OUT FROM JAFFNA BY PRABHAKARAN IN 1990; FOUNDATION FOR ANOTHER 500 LAID
By Walter Jayawardhana
A 500 house first phase of a housing complex for Puttlams war
refugees built under a humanitarian project of the United Arab Emirates
was declared open , WAM newsagency reported.
The agency report said, Jamal Al Turaifi, director general of Sharjah
Secretariat General for Auqaf - a religious body carrying out developmental
projects for the poor around the world - inaugurated the housing complex
The 500 houses city was donated by Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, UAE
Supreme Council member and ruler of Sharjah, The housing scheme came
as a big relief for thousands of people who have been living in shanty
houses, tents and even open spaces for almost 17 years since Velupillai
Prabhakaran ordered them to leave Jaffna within 48 hours leaving all
their belongings and allowing them to take three hundred Sri Lankan
The Washington based Refugees International reported their grim plight
as follows: In the early 1990s, the LTTE had de facto control
over most of the northern Jaffna peninsula. In October1990, the LTTE
decided to evict the Muslim population of Jaffna, approximately 100,000
people, with two days notice. The Muslims were told to leave the North
within 48 hours or face death. They were carefully searched by the LTTE
prior to their departure and all their possessions and valuables were
taken away from them. They were permitted to carry with them 300 Rupees
(about $3 US) for transportation out of Jaffna and a change of clothes.
Thousands of Muslims fled to the area of Puttalam in western Sri Lanka,
where they have lived for more than a decade.
UAE Ambassador in Colombo said the refugee city was one of the major
projects ever built in Sri Lanka mainly for the war affected population.
Later on the day Sri Lankas Resettlement and Disaster Relief
Services Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and Jalal Al Turaifi laid foundation
stones for the second phase of the refugee housing project , that would
also provide another 500 houses under the same plan.
UAE's Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mahmoud Al Mahmoud, Sri Lankan Minister
for Labour Athauda Seneviratne, Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services
Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and several other dignitaries and top officials
attended the inauguration ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony Minister Bathiudeen on behalf of the Sri Lankan
government thanked the Sharjah ruler for his humanitarian efforts to
alleviate the suffering of poor and displaced people.
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