Disaster Management, IDPs and Refugees, Peace and Conflict, Post-War, Vavuniya

Breaking News: IDPs in Zone 3 and 4 in Menik Camp affected by flooding

Reports received by Groundviews this evening indicate that torrential rains in Vavuniya throughout the day have severely affected IDPs interned in Menik Camp, particularly in Zone 3 and Zone 4. Other unconfirmed reports put the number of those affected by the rains at 15,000 at the time of writing.

As early as May this year, serious concerns of possible flooding due to poor drainage in Zone 4 of Menik Camp were clearly voiced by humanitarian agencies. There concerns were flagged again in the UN OCHA update on 31 July 2009, available here.

Vidura, who has written in to Groundviews previously, offers one perspective of the situation on the ground at the moment through Twitter. See www.twitter.com/apelankawe for updates.

Salient tweets until now from Vidura are reproduced below and flag the farcical and extremely dire circumstances on the ground in Menik Camp:

With more rain forecast, these horrific conditions of internment for IDPs will get worse.

Is this really the best we can do? Is this peace?

If you are on the ground in Vavuniya, or have access to new information on the flooding, please leave updates in the comments section.

Update, 15 August 2009, 8.22pm: For first images of the flooding in Menik Camp, click here.

  • smoulderingjin

    How can this nation sleep at night, when it has such a festering sore, and a deep wound in its soul

    How much more should these victims of both the LTTE and the war suffer in order to pay for a) the end of the war b) the beginning of peace.

    The question here is whether peace can be bought at such a price as this and whether this kind of suffering that is enforced by the govt will ensure the dawning of peace, or any desire for reconciliation. These people are being considered guilty until proven innocent – a travesty of law and basic justice afforded to common criminals or murderers.

    But then given that in the new Sri Lanka, where there are only Sri Lankans, murderers are considered innocent even if proven guilty, there appears little hope for the nation.

    When a nation envelops itself in amorality as well as immorality, when its courts of justice and its enforces of the law loses its sense of ethics, when human compassion is absent, when it cares nothing for the suffering of its civilians is there hope fo it?

  • Dont be panic! Tomorrow sun shines! Those IDPs are used to monsoon rains in Sri Lanka. They used to spend the night in the jungles during last 30 years underLTTE. Nobody complained to anybody. Now everybody complains to everybody.

  • King Duttagamini

    hello NOEalaminSL,
    after 30 years of terror rule these people are now under the care of a Buddhist gvt under a Maha Rajano. Should the treatment be same? It appears you would say yes!
    because 30 for years you did not hear them and even don’t know how to spell Eelam 🙂

  • Rain is disastrous for the inhabitants of all zones and for Zone 4 in particular because apart from the short-term suffering, it will definitely lead to the spread of chronic waterborne deceases due to poor sanitation and drainage.
    Oh hell!!! I have been there, so i know – the shit just hit the fan!

  • Rohini Hensman

    There should be mass protests against the imprisonment of the Vanni civilians in these hell-holes, and the protests should not stop until they are released, otherwise the seeds are being sown for another war in the future. The International Criminal Court defines the denial of liberty and other fundamental rights to a civilian population as a Crime Against Humanity. This is what the Government of Sri Lanka is perpetrating, and citizens who do not protest and thereby dissociate themselves from it become accomplices. So do foreign governments and international agencies who continue to provide aid to the Sri Lanka government without making the release of the Vanni IDPs a condition for any further aid.

  • Realist

    This is a terrible reflection on our so called Buddhist humanism,Surely the Maharajano claims to be the rajano of all the people? or is it only of the Sinhalese. the Nazis held thousands of Jews, Poles ad all others who opposed them in Concentration Camps. What is this government doing- following the footsteps of Hitler? When will the day of justice dawn?

  • King Duttagamini,

    “you did not hear them and even don’t know how to spell Eelam” 🙂 , I avoid my username being spammed. The spam filters detect “Eelam” as a junk/abusive/threatening/ violence/ terrorism. Sri Lankans consider “Eelam” belongs to terrorist-dictionary and not in civilized-vocabulary.

    Maha Rajano http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXd5ypKeSZE takes care of all of us. He saved the Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese from LTTE oppression. King Mahinda Rajapakse is the present “King Dutu Gamuni (164BC-140BC)” who fought Tamil invaders and re-united Sri Lanka. http://mahavamsa.org/2008/05/king-dutugamunu-164-bc-140-bc/

    Peace blooms in Sri Lanka. Pessimistic Europeans don’t believe that. They never wanted Sri Lanka to get rid of terrorists. KP reveals all EU, NGO involvements including financing of LTTE, even after the war. They try and make a picture IDP are in a concentration camps. They are the creators of such camps during World Wars. Every picture they publish of IDP shows barb wires, what message do they try give to the world? All these propagandas are for terrorists sponsored by terrorists, perhaps articles in most trustable websites too.

  • Aruna

    Rohini you very well know that there are going to be no mass protests againt these camps mainly because the GOSL does have legitimate reasons for them to continue and most people agree with them. You say “citizens who do not protest and thereby dissociate themselves from it become accomplices.”… does that mean you will agree that the Vanni folks are accomplices of the LTTE? I mean, hardly anyone of them protested against the LTTE or dissociated themselves from it…

  • If some says I white wash MR Govt, Wrong. There must be someone to defend Sri Lanka against terror propaganda. I’ve being busy myself to voice against anti-Sri Lanka propaganda sacrificing my studies. Pls visit NoEalamInSL users name on You Tube, Blogspot, Facebook t find out myself more. I am not funded by anybody, I spend my valuable time, money for peace in Sri Lanka.

    I am not against Tamils but against brutal terrorism. Have I mentioned anything wrong about IDPs? “Monsoon rains”, “sun shines”, “no complaints” are facts. It pity facts are not able to accept by someone. Difficulties are there for IDPs, I do have concerns for IDPs, but do not exaggerate.

    Pls do not mistaken me as a propaganda for govt. Ive even criticised MR. I supported DJ. I am not for sacrificing victory of 30yrs Eelam war. I see now hidden truths! I respect articles with critics but be impartial. I am not a journalist either, just a person with good intention and loyal to country.

    My comments has been removed “Dr. Jehan, An obidient Servant of Colonial Masters” I fear delete my other comments too, wasting my time, money and energy invested in peace and democracy in Sri Lanka. I reproduce my comments in FB for further discussion and reach other viewers. My mission cannot be threatened by anybody who respects democracy.
    Peace, Democracy, Say “No” to terrorsim.

    • Noealaminsl, English comprehension and expression is clearly not your forte. GV has clearly established guidelines that some of your comments were in clear violation of, including the ones directed against Jehan Perera.

      Accusing GV of censorship is rich, from someone who uses the pathetic excuse of fair weather as a yardstick to measure the quality of life in these camps.

  • GV,

    I criticised an artical http://peace-srilanka.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=145:home-grown-solution-needs-to-include-13th-amendment&catid=1:latest&Itemid=121 by Dr.Jehan published in your site http://www.groundviews.org/2009/08/10/analysis-of-how-jaffna-voted-and-why-the-epdp-feels-defeated-in-sri-lankas-first-post-war-elections/ as a servant of a colonial masters and requoted his own two paras to support that, how come that affect GV? Your viewers must belive the message you publish in your site? without any critics? Democracy? Is this the award winning democracy and critical journalism you boast of in your GV description? You said if I want to bash NGO find else where. I like criticism of Sanjana and GV. But GV cant stand viewers critics. I am glad you used “yardstick”. IDPs better off than LTTE times. There were many hundreds of NGOs… Read more in NE of SL last 30yrs, what have they done? building bunkers promoting LTTE propaganda. Where were you those days when Tamil civilians were shot when they escaped for life in NFZ? Those IDP camps have better conditions than in other war torn countries. We need help and money, so voice for that! If you are a Sri Lankan, speak the truth on behalf of those innocent Tamil civilians!

    I think govt is doing its best to handle the situation. Look at the Europeans who look away from Sri Lanka, just to let down the govt. You r fueling the situation, voicing for EU & what they expect in Sri Lanka to happen. They keep their fingers crossed till the fall of govt. What did they do at the end of the war? Cutting down the aids, Blocking … Read moreIMF! A war torn country just throwing from pan to fire. How Europe was built after WW-I&II? Volks, if you have a heart, you will help Sri Lanka first to come out of the mess. But the truth is pathetic, letting SL down.

    • What on earth are you talking about? Jehan has never published a comment or article on Groundviews. I leave the rest of the GV community to deal with your comments that suggest IDPs in Menik Camp are “better off” than during “LTTE times”. By the way, love the way you used “volks”.

  • punitham

    We need to get rid of sections of textbooks that created people like NoEelamist. Otherwise we are going to keep getting hatemongers who brought us here and who will never let us move forward.
    Sri Lankan academics have been complaining for 5/6 decades. This must be taken seriously. Peacebuilding in the most vicious intrastate conflict needs remedies in very many aspects.

  • punitham

    Sorry about a mistake in my previous comment:
    ‘created’ should be ‘keep creating’

  • Punitham or Puthinam,

    As long as NoEelamists are in-action, Pro-Eelamists become impotent. NoEelamist created buy nature/genes not buy text books. Books are kept aside to take the heat of Eelam. If India didnt involved we should have solved this in ’87. Both Tamils and Sinhalese learnt India a lesson, they should never come between us. Lets solve this in peace. No need Geneva suite rooms, sit and type for Ground Views.

    Take my advice: Dont believe all what texts in books say. Dont listen to what Eelamists say. Read, listen and analyse, and discuss, change, then then make conclusions. Thats how we can build peace in Sri Lanka.

    GV,

    “What on earth are you talking about? Jehan has never published a comment or article on Groundviews.”
    Please refer GV: http://www.groundviews.org/2009/08/10/analysis-of-how-jaffna-voted-and-why-the-epdp-feels-defeated-in-sri-lankas-first-post-war-elections/

    Two Article references there:

    1.Dayan J. said on August 11, 2009 @ 5:24 am: ” For far less speculative and personalised and far more objective assessments of the Northern vote, read Dr Jehan Perera. Jehan makes an interesting point, as follows: ..By way of contrast”
    2.Aachcharya said, August 11, 2009 @ 8:31 pm, “There is more in Jehan’s “far less speculative….”

    I commented: “Dr.Jehan is an obidient servant for his colonial masters” and requoted last two paras of Dr. Jehans article to support my argument with list of NGO sponsored for NPC.

    Whats the big deal? You deleted my comment, sen me an email not bash on your forum, you removed me from Facebook as fan.. bit of exaggeration, dont you think?

    Thanks. “volk”compliment?:)
    GV, please advice me how I can increase my viewers:). I have only couple of people on FB, GV is one of them but you removed me as fan!
    You do are heading North. Keep it up. But accept critics.

  • NoEalamInSL, You are still a fan of GV on Facebook. The email was to alert you to site guidelines, which you are still blissfully unaware of, that debars libelous comments against individuals.

  • Aruna

    “Accusing GV of censorship is rich”

    I don’t think it is rich at all. There have been many comments that have been deleted, not because they violated any guidelines but because they did not agree with the editor’s line of thinking. And on the other hand, there are many comments that have been left alone despite the fact that they do break the guidelines. For example, there have been plenty of comments that directly attack the Sinhalese as a community by (presumably) Tamil and Muslims posters that are left standing, whilst people like NoEelamInSL are targeted and their comments censored.

  • GV,

    Yes. I am now a fan of yours. Thank you. Democratic, critical journalists always give space for its viewers/readers to express their views on any issue. As citizens, we are honoured the opportunity given to us to have our “say” on your forum to let others to see. We appreciate if you have tolerance to listen to our critics. Please don’t take critics personal. May s/he be an intellectual, Prof, Dr, Ambassador, President; citizens have a right to criticise any of them in a democratic society. Specially, a time journalists criticise govt for press freedom. We citizens are victims of both government and the journalists.

    Per se, I have not gone through your legal terms, and if my fundamental right of freedom of expression subjected to delete by your law terms, your democratic- critical journalism need to be re-assessed. I wonder if it is not a violation of rights of your viewers according to you.

    I regretted to hear your statement “English comprehension and expression is clearly not your forte” to hide your own weaknesses. Being a democratic person, I don’t have to see your guidelines. I am not interested on your rules but what you write. Besides that, as long as I don’t use filthy, abusive words; your guidelines can’t hinder my “say”.

    I hope Ground Views respect its viewers. My positive/negative comments on Dr. Jehan “obedient Servant” are “debars libelous comments against individuals” for you. Perhaps it has to do with comment “Colonial masters”.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Opiaz-NFLM

    We must be one team if we fight for a democratic Sri Lanka. Our perspectives and critics can be different, yet we both serve our mother Lanka.

    May you (I do respect Sanjana Hattotuwa as seen on TV) be Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim or any other…country comes first, unless you serve only our “colonial masters”!

    • NooEelaminSL, whether or not you and care to read and comprehend the guidelines, they are there. They are there for a reason. If you violate them, you will not be published. Continue to violate them, and you will be banned as have other like-minded mindless trolls, who continue to blather on in plenty of other online fora more open to uncivil, unmoderated discourse.

  • myil selvan

    The fears of conditions in the IDP camps getting worse during inclement weather was known to the NGOs and international aid agencies. The GoSL was bulldozing ahead without listening to their concerns. Ground was not leveled, no proper drainage, drains don’t have an outlet to discharge water, tents over crowded, open defecation, trench toilets flooded and overflowing,etc,etc. This is why no cameras are allowed into the camps!
    We as a society cannot condone this! The people must be released!

    To respond to NoEalamInSL:
    Just because LTTE kept people by force that doesn’t mean the GoSL has to follow the same example. But the GoSL is the same as the LTTE, that’s the whole problem.
    The IDPs are complaining but the GoSL is not listening! NGOs and UN are conveying those complaints on behalf of IDPs.
    Accusing people you don’t agree with of terror propaganda is very unfortunate! You don’t seem to understand what terrorism is and what democracy is, do you?? I challenge you to explain the meaning of democracy and terrorism???

    Dr. Jehan Perera has a very good view of what SL needs. He is broad minded and looks at the long term. We need more people like him if this country is to be redeemed.
    As for colonial masters: Gotabhaya is U.S. citizen, Kohona is Australian citizen, Basil and Sarath Fonseka U.S. green card holders, President’s three sons studied in UK, and on and on and on the list goes. Why don’t you call these people obedient to colonial masters?
    For racists, hypocrisy is a virtue and patriotism the sole refuge!

  • Atheist

    The Sri-Lankan government has a twofold responsibility: to protect the public from terrorism and to ensure that all citizens – even criminals -are entitled to fairness, and to the basic necessities of life. Needless to say, one cannot equate the government with the terrorists. I can understand the government’s need to detain suspected terrorists; however, the detaining of others comes down to a question of ethics. How long will they have to endure this agonizing uncertainty?

    It was next to impossible for most Vanni people to stand up against the LTTE, just like it was for the Sinhalese to have spoken out against the atrocities of the JVP. We all know how helpless people become during times of ruthless insurgencies. Those at the mercy of terrorists should not be branded as silent accomplices.

    While there are individual volunteers and donors for the IDP camps, more funding and human resources will speed up the resettlement process. I shudder to think of how people –especially young women – endure the cramped conditions and unsanitary toilets in these camps. At least, for now, the barbed wires should go.

    However, the existence of the IDP camps, alone, does not make Sri-Lanka “undemocratic”. To me, what makes Sri-Lanka undemocratic at this present time is also the gruelling poverty in villages and inner city shanties, and the huge disparity among the rich and poor. The right to education, health care and decent housing must be available to all, including the marginalized throughout the island that have been forced to eke out a meagre living for decades.

    Not all democracies are perfect; to bring about a “perfect” democracy we must all do our part. I still have great hope for Sri-Lanka – no matter what the spin doctors may try to sell us – as most Lankans remain committed to democracy.

  • Its monsoon rains. Any NGO/GOSL academic would realize the ground situation during monsoon seasons. Its horrific to see, those IDP tents are under floods. Those NGOS who lived there for last 30yrs must be aware of the situation than government. They should have used those bacco/bulldozers gave to LTTE to digg drains to keep this water out of tents. But, are those IDPs are handicapped? LTTE days, they built huge bunkers and diged drains to slow down SL military. Now they cant dig a drain to let floods to decrease. Perhaps they are too much pampered by the government. They must have used LTTE motivational theories, forced labour. Some people this is a dream coming true to see camps are under water! Not all sympathizers are sincere. I am sure, those IDPs will agree with me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6mLvnXYPbc

  • punitham

    Academics
    Please remove hatemongering in textbooks – please remove the twisted history. This is a very important part of peacebuilding, esp. when twisted history presnted in textbooks in the last 5/6 decades has been producing dangerous elements in the country.
    Thanks.

  • N K Ratnam

    The IDPs are held against their will despite S/L government claiming to have liberated them from the LTTE. Now with the onset of the monsoon they are held in conditions where they are in imminent danger of dying of water bourne diseases or being shot for trying to escape these conditions. According to the latest reports more trrops are being despatched to the camps to keep them in these conditions with orders to shoot anyone trying to escape. How long are these people going to be held in these prisons? This is taking the country in totally the opposite direction to the path of reconciliation.

  • Punitham,

    Can you please tell me briefly the untwisted history of the country?

    Can you please elaborate bit more, be specific “the last 5/6 decades has been producing dangerous elements in the country.” perhaps I might agree with you.

    Your most reliable website, Tamil Net have interesting news, I cant say I disagree with “Taliban Law”.

    “Noting several trends in Sri Lanka point to “early steps in [reaching for] totality of power,” Prof Kumar David in a column in the weekend edition of “The Island” asserts that the cultural control exercised by the current Rajapakse regime are no different to those of “the Mullahs of Teheran and the iconoclastic Taliban fundamentalists.” Prof. David summarizes the views of six lawyers expressed at a Lawyers’ Press Conference organised by the Platform for Freedom (PfF) early August where one notes that the scene is set for ever expanding authoritarianism as Sri Lanka’s President flagrantly violates the “supreme law, the public [is] apathetic and the judiciary [is] powerless,” and another points to the holding of 300,000 people “against their will, in defiance of local and international law” as “obscene infringement of the constitution.”

  • President Bean

    punitham…In another 50 years students will be taught in schools about ‘Maha Mahinda’ the Empror of the greatest country on earth! Just like in George Orwells ‘1984’ the history of Sri Lanka will be re-written…what a nightmare…I hope I will be dead by that time!

  • Norman Grace

    The great Poet Rabindranath Tagore said ‘whatever we understand and enjoy in human products instantly becomes ours, wherever they might have their origin. Let me feel with unalloyed gladness that all the great glories of man are mine.”

    I always wonder what has happened to the Sri Lankan Society. In personal friendship the members from all communities enjoy each others company, appreciate each other, be proud of each others views etc. But when it come to Public Policy we are at each other, not willing to share anything. All of us should look at ourselves and find a genuine answer for the question.

    Who is responsible what has caused this ‘great wall’?!!

  • smoulderingjin

    Punitham I suggest you take a look at the recent A/Level examination paper – for Sinhala. The essay questions are startling! See http://www.lankanewsweb.com/news/EN_2009_08_19_004.html

    I think the history books have no chance of any twisted history being removed. At the rate the farcical nature of the nation is progressing, I suspect what we will see is twisted history being added to the text books in the nation.