thanks to the help of the unhcr, these civil war refugees are offloaded again next to the remainders of their village that they had to leave 2 years ago when the sri lanka government had decided to “liberate” the east coast. aah, it’s so easy: the government decides to displace, and the international community does not have many options but to assist so that government’s actions don’t result in a humanitarian catastrophy. so the refugees come to camps, and when government allows, the UN can bring them back to what war has left from their belongings. and when this picture looks as if a lorry had just dumped a load, well, it was almost like that.
after having lived in a shelter, one family one room, cooking outside, platform to lift the beddings above the water that in rainy seasons is on floor level, most of the refugees are glad to go back. so they queue up under a glazing sun in the transport area, bear the screening by the army and the special task forces and then get transported back in buses, their belongings brought after inspection for weaponry on some tractors.
and there is no question that the unhcr does a good job here. after returning with a tarpaulin kit as a first measure of protection, shelter building groups will come and assist the refugees in repairing damaged houses or set up provisional ones. quick impact projects afterward may come to their support and may create new means of earning a livelyhood.
but all this poverty is not a result of a natural catastrophe, but results from the inability of government and insurgents to negotiate a peaceful solution for the conflict. this is the shame.