More than 3600 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees (due to the ongoing clashes between LTTE and Sri Lankan government) have camped in Mandapam, Tamil Nadu. IAHV has inititiated a relief programme to provide food, clothing and medical care.
IAHV has also started providing trauma relief courses to the refugees. In 2006, a wave of refugees flee as a result the renewed fighting in Sri Lanka. Over 16,000 people have fled Sri Lanka across the water to the shores of Tamil Nadu, India southeastern state, where they find refuge in camps across the region and receive basic support from the Indian government. Those who have made it to India constitute only a small fraction of the nearly 200,000 people who have been displaced in Sri Lanka since April. But they represent some of the most desperate casesÂ those who have given up hope for a quick end to hostilities and are trying to start a new. According to information available here, the refugees, who are coming in droves and in families, are saying the same reasons for their influx We are caught in the cross fire. The tension in our villages is rising and we feel safer here in Rameswaram."
Most of the refugees who have arrived come from the Trincomallee belt or from the Pesalai-Mannar region, where several incidents and skirmishes have been reported in recent weeks. Intelligence agencies believe that things are hotting up in the east, where a tussle is also going on between the LTTE and the Karuna faction. And this accounts for the exodus of Tamil refugees from that belt. Police sources here say, they are being asked by the LTTE to either get into the Wanni region or set off to India.
Tamil sources in Colombo say that the situation in the north and east remains "tense and fragile." With the collapse of the "talks about talks," the Tamils in these areas appear to be worried about the possible break out of another "Eelam war." Hence the persistent movement of refugees to India, they explain.(News Agency) His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Visits Refugees His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar met the 3,000 displaced Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Mandapam at the onset of his Tamil Nadu tour on 26th January 2009. He met with them individually over several hours, distributing clothes and offering hope and solace. Many of the refugees were doctors, engineers and well-educated among the displaced Sri Lankan Tamils on the Camp. Sri Sri promised them that he would make all efforts to get them back to their country where they could lead dignified lives. He assured them that their lost jobs, homes, and land would be restored.
He also appealed to the Sri Lankan Government to compensate the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees for their losses and rehabilitate them. He plans to visit Sri Lanka to address this problem. He hoped for justice and self-respect for the Sri Lankan Tamils. "After every destruction, a new beginning takes place," said Sri Sri, after the conclusion of his visit. His Holiness is the first spiritual leader to visit the camp and meet with the Sri Lankan Tamils. His visit assumes significance in the context of the current developments in the island nation, propelling a large influx of displaced Sri Lankan Tamils to the shores of Tamil Nadu. Several times in the past, Sri Sri had appealed to the LTTE to come to the negotiating table. It has always been his concern that ordinary people were being put to severe hardship and untold suffering.
A team of Art of Living- IAHV volunteers have held trauma relief camps for the Sri Lankan Tamils. "Many shared their pain and suffering. Sri Sri consoled them". Presently, as many as 3262 refugees, including 1154 women comprising 986 families were being accommodated in the camp. Action Plan IAHV- Art of Living has been involved in providing some material Relief and Trauma Relief. A coordination core group has been formed and the physical areas of operations have been divided and each area has one leader appointed to coordinate the Trauma Relief Workshops and other needed activities in the area. The first and foremost thing is to bring mental peace, relief from the trauma, build self confidence and self esteem among the refugees. The IAHV- Art of Living volunteers have already pronged into action and are committed to bring relief and solace to people in these relief camps spread over in different areas as mentioned earlier, under the inspiration of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of Art of Living and IAHV.
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