Government needs time for resettlement

The government says it now needs another six months to complete the resettlement of the war displaced families remaining at the controversial Menik Farm camp.

Following international pressure the government had assured that the remaining displaced people will be resettled by December last year but that deadline was later shifted to January this year.

However now the government says it needs more time to complete the resettlement and close the Menik Farm camp.

Speaking to the Colombo Gazette, Resettlement Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon said that that the construction of permanent houses for some 1700 families remaining in a camp in Vavuniya has already begun.

“We will need at least 6 months to fully complete the resettlement process. Last month we completed 206 houses and we have begun constructing another 200 houses and that should be completed in three months,” the Minister said.

A cyclone which slammed into the Menik Farm camp on Saturday razed to the ground several temporary shelters mostly made of wood and tin sheets.

Families remaining in the camp vented their anger at Minister Rishard Bathuhudeen when he visited the camp site on Sunday.

The displaced people demanded that they be immediately resettled in permanent homes as the lives of their children were at risk if there is another storm.

Asked if Bathuhudeen visited the camp with his consent Minister Weerakoon said yes and added that he went as the Minister overseeing the District.

Minister Weerakoon said that he will personally visit the camp site tomorrow and inquire into the needs of the displaced people and also oversee the construction work of permanent homes for those families.

Over 350,000 people were housed at the Menik Farm camp soon after the war between the LTTE and the army came to an end three years ago.

Most of the displaced were however resettled by the end of last year. (Colombo Gazette)