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Heart-rending tale of Sri Lankan refugees

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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 12:44 PM
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Heart-rending tale of Sri Lankan refugees
KAKINADA: Till a few months ago, life was peaceful for them but the renewed offensive of the Sri Lankan Army on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) brought them the kind of misery which none wants to go through.

They used to eke out their livelihood by fishing on the high seas but the fighting forced them to flee their homes and forever changed their destinies.

Leaving behind everything in their native place, Mullaithivu, which is currently witnessing a fierce battle between the Army and `Tigers, a small group of 21 Tamil-speaking fishermen and women set sail on a fibre boat in the Bay of Bengal but only about half of them could reach safety, that too far away from their homeland.

The fisherfolk intended to take shelter in a refugee camp at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu but the boat went adrift as they lost their direction and ended up in Uppada in Andhra Pradesh, where they were rescued by local fishermen late on Wednesday.

Survivors of the ordeal are in a state of shock. They had nothing to eat and drink either as they hurriedly deserted their village while the gruelling sea journey sapped their energy. The weather too was unforgiving. Having suffered severe dehydration, they look frail and uncertain about where future would take them in the days ahead.

Ten of those on the boat died due to starvation, according to a survivor, Mary Joseph Benny.
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