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Silent suffering at refugee camp

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RUBBLES: Dilapidated houses found at a refugee camp in Koodal Nagar in Madurai.
RUBBLES: Dilapidated houses found at a refugee camp in Koodal Nagar in Madurai.

Shastry V. Mallady

MADURAI: Sri Lankan Tamils living in a refugee camp at Koodal Nagar here seem to be silently suffering because of lack of basic amenities. The height of their woes is their dilemma of whether they could demand those facilities or not.

Though living in a condition that calls for immediate intervention of district administration, the families seem to be afraid of coming out in the open to ask the authorities for providing the amenities.

At the same time, they all express hardships they face every day with no other choice.

A visit to the camp on Monday revealed that the 200-odd families there have a common request: “We want daily supply of drinking water and proper sanitation in the locality.”

By going around the camp, it is noticed that the refugees are living in unhygienic conditions because of water stagnation and no free flow of drainage.

“We are buying drinking water and each family spends nearly Rs.8 a day for buying water from a private supplier,” says a refugee. Around 700 refugees are staying in the camp.

The houses present a pathetic picture. Most of them are in a dilapidated condition.

The refugees say that no attention is given to do repairs or construct new houses.

Accumulated sewage in the refugee camp looks like a pandemic is imminent.

“During rainy season and around Deepavali time, water enters our homes and our children are the worst hit,” a refugee says.

Several persons staying in the camp say that the basic requirements have been taken to the attention of district authorities and during the visit of Ministers K. K. S. S. R. Ramachandran and A. Tamilarasi to the camp in November last year on the instructions from the Chief Minister.

Water tanks

While the refugees are happy with other aspects taken care of by the State Government, their immediate requirements are drinking water and pucca houses.

“It will be good if water tanks are provided to store water as in the refugee camp at Aanaiyur. In summer, there is no water supply at all and we have to go to other places to fetch water,” another refugee says.

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