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Still Over 400,000 Displaced in Sri Lanka

by Internal Displaced Monitoring Centre, January 22, 2010

“A large portion of the more than 140,000 recently sent out of the camps have not actually returned to their homes nor been resettled, but have been sent to and remain in “transit centres” in their home districts. In many cases these centres, located in churches, schools and other government buildings, are hours away from people’s homes, without adequate transport to and from their homes or livelihood opportunities."

More at: Sri Lanka: Continuing humanitarian concerns and obstacles to durable solutions for recent and longer-term IDPs

Still over 400,000 IDPs in Sri Lanka (January 2010)


  • As of 31 December 2009, about 108,000 IDPs from the Vanni remained in previously closed camps, with limited freedom of movement (pass system) since 1 December
  • About 156,000 IDPs had returned to their districts (not necessarily places) of origin in the north and east by 31 December 2009. Out of these, a large part remain in displacement there, according to reports
  • In the east there remained 6,000 persons in displacement due to the Trincomalee High Security Zone
  • By mid-2009, in addition to the 285,000 IDPs from the Vanni at that time, there was a caseload of 197,925 IDPs from the period before 2006, including over 60,000 Muslim IDPs now living in Puttalam who were expelled from the North by the LTTE in 1990

Manik Farm after heavy rain August 2009
UN RC/HC, 1 January 2010, p.1:
“108,106 people are accommodated in temporary camps. […] 155,966 have been returned to Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Ampara, Kandy and Polonnaruwa districts between 05 August and 31 December 2009.”

ICG, 11 January 2010, p.4:
“A large portion of the more than 140,000 recently sent out of the camps have not actually returned to their homes nor been resettled, but have been sent to and remain in “transit centres” in their home districts. In many cases these centres, located in churches, schools and other government buildings, are hours away from people’s homes, without adequate transport to and from their homes or livelihood opportunities.”

ICG, 11 January 2010, p.3:
“[Inmates of the major camps in Vavuniya and other parts of the north] must receive a pass that requires them to return by a particular date (generally ranging from five days to two weeks). Inmates of one camp are not allowed to enter other camps in order to visit relatives or friends. There are also reports that in some camps people are being told to leave family members behind as guarantees they will return and that some families considered close to the LTTE are not allowed to leave at all.”

CPA, September 2009:
"Although the Government claims to have restored normalcy having liberated the East, over 6,000 persons from Sampur area cannot return to their homes and have been living in displacement for more than two and a half years."

UNOCHA, August 2009:
"The large and sudden influxes have created significant challenges in addressing the overwhelming humanitarian needs of the nearly 285,000 Vanni IDPs. Government capacities as well as those of humanitarian aid agencies have been strained, particularly in the North-Central district of Vavuniya District, where nearly 262,000 IDPs are currently accommodated. […] an additional caseload of 197,925 ‘conflict-affected’ IDPs from prior to 2006 remain displaced."

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), 4 November 2009:
“[In 1990,] […] the LTTE forcibly evicted the entire Muslim population from the five districts of the Northern Province resulting in the mass displacement and dispossession of over 60,000 persons.”
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Sources

Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), 7 September 2009, Trincomalee High Security Zone and Special Economic Zone

International Crisis Group (ICG), 11 January 2010, Sri Lanka: A Bitter Peace

Office of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sri Lanka, 2010, Sri Lanka: North East Joint Humanitarian Update

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka), 3 November 2009, The Other Half of the IDP Problem: The Old IDPs

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), August 2009, CHAP 2009- Mid Year Review