Human Security, IDPs and Refugees, Peace and Conflict, Trincomalee

I will not return to my Village

I am originally from Trincomalee. Now I am living in a Tsunami, temporary shelter, in Alayadivembu which is in the Ampara District. My home town is Thoppur, Munampodivattai. We initially became internally displaced in 1990 and continue to be displaced. The present displacement was due to the recent conflict in the East. My family is displaced and I have lost one of my children.

In June 2005, following dinner, my husband, four of my children and I were at home in our village. I was asleep with two of my children and my husband was in conversation with the other two. Suddenly we heard the unmistakable sounds of the aircraft followed by aerial bombardment. My husband and I grabbed the children and ran out into the jungle. We had with us only the night clothes on. We fled from our village in that state towards Pattipuram village. The following day we returned to our village to see it being occupied by the Sri Lankan Army. All were living in fear, the villagers felt terrorized by the presence of the army. There was no security for the children, especially the youths and young girls. People were assaulted and arrested with out any reason. To save our lives, we took our valuables and started walking towards Killivetti, through the jungle. During our journey we did not rest or stop to eat as we had nothing to eat. We heard shells and fighting close by but kept on trekking the jungle. We were unaware as to who was living of killed. There was total chaos.

Closer to Kathiraveli, my son said that he wanted to relieve himself and went into the jungle and did not return for sometime. We went is search of him and found his body blown to pieces as a result of a mine explosion. We kept on moving with utter disgust minus a family member. My other son said to me that we better take some poison and kill ourselves too as he cannot bear the hunger and the loss of his brother.

We reached Kathiraveli and from there proceeded to Valachchenai. At Valachchenai we got some food. During the entire journey we did not have any food. We stayed in Vallachchenai and after a few days moved to Akkaraipattu. Later we moved once again like gypsies to Alayadivembu. We had to sell all our jewelry to survive.

In our original village, we lived happily with basic needs, goods were very cheap. Now we are unable buy the basics due to the high cost in prices. Limited assistance given by various agencies has helped us to barely survive. The government needs to provide us with the basics which we have not yet received. If the east is liberated why is that we cannot have our normal lives once again? Who will provide for our losses? Loss of my child, property and the right to live in dignity.

We do not prefer to return to our original village, even if the Government forces us. It is not secure to get back. The security of my children is very important to me. I have already lost one child and do not want to lose another. My children are going to school here. I do not wish to take them back there, and spoil their future. The prevailing situation there is the lack of security to children and specially the youth.

At Alayadivembu , we have the opportunity to work as laborers , and feel much secure. If the Government forces us to return to Thopoor, I will not take my children, but leave them here even though basics facilities are not available. The temporary shelters we are in now are also in a dilapidated state. I wish to live where there is security rather than lose another child.

A human being should be allowed to live as a human; the warring parties should understand this.

Narrator – Sinnarasa Kamladevi,
Original Village – Thopoor -Munampodivattai. Trincomalee
Presently at – Alayadivembu, Amparai – Welfare centre
Family – Husband and three children (one died due to conflict)