The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ashok K. Kantha visited Vavuniya, Oddusudan and Mullaithivu on March 19 for a first hand knowledge of the relief welfare camps for the war displaced and the assistance being provided by India for the rehabilitation and re-settlement of the Tamil civilians in the war ravaged northern province.
According to the Indian mission here at Vavuniya, along with Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare of Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner inaugurated the Limb Refitment Camp set up at Menik Farms Zone 1.
Limb Refitment Camp
The mission said the Limb Refitment Camp, set up at Menik Farms Zone 1, is fully funded by the Government of India and is being implemented by the Jaipur-based Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), a well known non-governmental organisation better known as the Jaipur Foot .
In Vavuniya, the BMVSS has deputed a team of 19 experts from India to provide artificial limbs to about 1200 Sri Lankans who lost their limbs during the years of conflict in Sri Lanka. The camp that commenced on March 13 would continue for about 30 days.
The mission said the camp has already received enthusiastic response from the disabled IDPs. The High Commissioner, along with Minister Douglas Devananda, witnessed the on-the-spot process of fitting of artificial limbs, the immediate impact it made on their mobility and also interacted with the beneficiaries.
Shelters, agriculture starter packs
At Mullaithivu, the High Commissioner participated in a ceremony to hand over the galvanised corrugated sheets (GC sheets) and agriculture starter packs to the IDP beneficiaries. The GC sheets are being used by the IDPs to construct their shelters in the new areas of habitation.
The Government of India has so far supplied 5200 MT (about 500,000 sheets) in two consignments of GC sheets to Sri Lanka. The first lot of 2600 MT has already been distributed and has benefitted about 20,000 families. The second lot of GC sheets is being currently distributed and is expected to benefit a similar number of families.
The agriculture starter pack includes basic tools and implements for the IDPs to help them resume cultivation in their homesteads and subsequently in the farmlands allocated to them. India is supplying a total of such 70,000 starter packs .
The mission said the High Commissioner also met with the local Sri Lankan Government officials in Vavuniya, Oddusudan, and Mullaithivu, who briefed him on the re-settlement process, the ongoing demining operations, and the various reconstruction projects being undertaken in these areas. During the visit to Oddusudan, the High Commissioner also visited the demining camp set up by Indian NGOs funded by the Government of India operating in various parts of Sri Lanka.
The High Commissioner visited the Poonthottam Child Housing Camp at Vavuniya and interacted with the IDP children. He also gifted sports items to the children in the camp for their recreational activities. Besides, the High Commissioner visited the General Hospital at Mullaithivu, where he was briefed on the nature of assistance required for making it fully operational.