“Even though they have been living for twenty years in Colombo, away from home, none can claim that leaving their home town and settling in Colombo have gained any advantage. It has been agony and problems and difficulties one after another. The pain of living in refugee camp worsened when the entire compound was inundated with water when Tsunami hit the island in December 2005.”
JFFNA MUSLIM REFUGEES IN COLOMBO
On Tuesday the 2nd March 2010, Ali Azeez and I decided to pay a visit to the long forgotten refugees living in Crow Island in Mutwal, Colombo. Even though the refugees were living in this abandon school property for the last two decades neither the Government nor any NGO have given any worth while helping hand to settle these 127 families, living in worse than the shanties living around Colombo. This area known as ‘Compound’ is well secured due to the presence of the boundary wall around it, which was built during the era when this was used as a school and now it is put to better use by housing the well deserved refugees, who have no intention of going back. The Government has stopped the monthly ration worth about Rs 1200/=, mainly because the refugees opted to stay back in the camp as most of these were living in Jaffna in rented properties. The offer to resettle them in Jaffna was very vague and had no definite plan for the homeless. All these information were released to us by Mr M. Kamaldeen, former MMC of Jaffna Municipal Council, who is acting as their spokesman for the refugees. In addition we also met some of the senior members of the refugee community like Mr S.H. Abdul Hakkeem, Mr.N.M.Haniffa , Mr Jinnah Saib, and Mr M.H.Nazar, who took us around to show the condition on which they live. The only thing they are now hoping for is resettling them in proper housing in the same area by building low cost flats in the same location.