Sri Lanka
More Sri Lankan refugees move to south India
Mar 3, 2007 - 6:29:06 PM

Colombo, March 3 - Sri Lankan Tamils affected by the conflict in the north and east moving to the neighbouring south India is on the increase, Sri Lankan Naval authorities said Saturday.

Some 327 residents from Mannar and Talaimannar arrived at the southern Indian city of Rameshwaram travelling by fishing boats Friday, officials said. Among them were 39 children and 121 women.

Naval authorities said the Indian coastal guard had informed both the Sri Lankan Navy and the Sri Lankan government on the arrival of Sri Lankan refugees in Rameshwaram.

The escalation of the armed conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - rebels and government troops in the north and east has caused a large influx of Tamil civilian refugees across the waters to the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which is home to some 65 million Tamils.

According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, some 128,000 Sri Lankan refugees are currently in 122 camps in south India. The UN-assisted program to repatriate and resettle them in their place of origin has been hampered by the escalation of conflict since Dec 2005.

Nearly 4,000 people have been killed in the violence seriously jeopardising the Norwegian-backed effort to bring peace to the island's north and east.

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