More refugees return from Tamil Nadu

By Sarah Hannan

Batches of refugee returnees have been arriving in Sri Lanka since the civil war ended; with the latest group having arrived on Tuesday (9), comprised of 58 persons from 23 families that were to resettle in Jaffna, Mannar, Trincomalee, Vavuniya, and Colombo.

The Sunday Morning contacted the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Sri Lanka office to inquire whether the returnees are provided temporary housing upon return, to which they responded that the agency only facilitates safe return to their home country.

“We ensure that the returning families are provided with a suitable mode of transfer to Sri Lanka. In this case, we provided them with air tickets to arrive in Sri Lanka. Up on their arrival, they will return to their original homes if they are still intact. If not, they stay with their family or friends until they are provided with suitable areas to relocate,” the UNHCR stated.

The agency further informed that each returning person is provided an integration grant of Rs. 10,000 per adult and Rs. 7,000 for a minor.

Apart from that, every returning family is provided a non-food items grant of a Rs. 10,000, and a travel allowance of Rs. 2,500 per person.

“All these grants are one-time allocations, and the returnees are provided these cash allowances at the point of entering the country. In terms of securing suitable housing, the families are encouraged to register with the District Secretariat of the respective area of origin,” the agency iterated further.

Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation – Northern Province too was to provide a grant of Rs. 25,000 per family to build a temporary home, and Rs. 3,000 to purchase household essentials. Furthermore, the ministry was to also provide Rs. 5,000 for each returnee.