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News  


 

Over 200,000 IDPs in North: UNHCR official

By Shabna Cader
Over 200,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) remain in the northern parts of the country, Associate Protection Officer at the UNHCR, Elena Ferretti said. The numbers were released during a lecture held at the American Centre on June 27 (Wednesday) in commemoration with World Refugees Day.
“The statistics are from a variety of trusted sources. However they are all very current and accurate figures. As of April 2011, 232 refugees, 120 asylum seekers and 222,349 IDPs have been unaccounted for”, she said.
The number of IDPs is expected to decline soon as those unsettled in the Puttalam region will be resettled during this month because of the ongoing resettlement process she continued.
The highest number of IDPs is unsettled in Jaffna (102,000), Puttlam (55,400) and Vavuniya (37,000) respectively.
“To assist IDP returnees rebuild their lives, UNHCR provides each family returning to former conflict areas with a shelter and cash grant of 25,000 rupees ($US 220 ) through the state Bank of Ceylon. The families are free to use the money according to their priorities, either for shelter repairs and labour for land clearance or investing it to start up small businesses. “UNHCR’s assistance package to the IDP returnees also includes basic household items that the families will need to start up their lives once again” UNHCR said in a statement.