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Only 49,000 IDPs left in welfare camps

The number of Internally Displaced Persons accommodated in the State-ru welfare villages in the Vanni had dropped to 49,634 by Wednesday, according to the Resettlement Ministry.

Minister of Resettlement Millroy Fernando said the government would resettle the remaining IDPs within the next three months as per instructions by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

After the final battle against the LTTE in May last year, 280,000 civilians were accommodated in State-run welfare camps. Though the government undertook to resettle all IDPs by January this year, it could not meet the deadline due to delay in clearing all landmines to make the area safe for returning civilians.

Minister Fernando said the government had already resettled 226,306 war affected civilians in their original lands in Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts.

"We provide all facilities including cash advances of Rs. 25,000 to each family until they restart their normal livelihoods," he said adding that most of the resettled IDPs were now engaged in agriculture and Fisheries.

Fernando said the government had also taken measures to resettle 841 families in the East displaced due to the war 20 years ago.

Land belonging to those families had been identified and they would be resettled in six villages in the Trincomalee District, he said.

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