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Friday 31 December, 2004

Sri Lanka: Mullaitivu Status Report

The Mullaitivu District in Sri Lanka, though hit by the Tsunami has not got significant media coverage because it is in areas held by the LTTE, the rebel faction that controls much of the Northern part of the island.

One of the most tragic things about the extent of the damage in Mullaitivu has been the loss of children's lives. The number of child deaths in the area is much mucy higher than in other parts of the island because Mullaitivu is home to many (about 80) children's homes run by the LTTE. These homes are where war orphans, children separated from their parents due to the fighing, etc are brought in. Three years ago when the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE signed the ceasefire agreement it seemed like these children were going to have a chance to make a better future for themselves.

Now many of them are dead.

At the Senthalil Children's Home only 5 children remain out of the 150 who used to live there. In the playground outside the home a wrought iron bed wrapped around a tree bears silent witness to the force of the wave that hit them. The LTTE has started cleaning up the home but from the stench of rotting flesh that comes from the building it is still clear that there are bodies inside, stuck under the debris.

The Regional Med. Officers are spraying Lysol to prevent disease but there's little Lysol can do. It's just a general disinfectant that OK for household use. Spraying it on the streets is going to have little impact. While efforts are underway to clean up the debris and remove the bodies that still remain stuck below, there's just too much work. Right now one JCB bulldozer is at work in the town but the services of more earthmovers are needed.
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