Posted by: joan49 | September 17, 2012

Refugee Background Info

Hi Everyone,
Here is some more background information on this situation. The first boat of refugees made up of 43 people of whom 4 are children, 4 are women, and 2 are men over the age of 55, left Sri Lanka by boat on Aug 3. By breakdown of religion they are 20 Hindus, 22 Catholics, and 1 Buddhist, but all of Tamil ethnicity. Their boat, a small fishing trawler not meant for trans-oceanic voyages broke down several times while in the Indian Ocean. With no mechanic on board, they fixed the engine with “creativity and prayer” until finally it broke down again and they could no longer fix it. Fortunately, they were then close to Mentawai, and so the tides eventually brought them ashore to Silabo, a small fishing village several hours from Sikakap. The local people called the police in Sikakap who were then able to tow their boat to Sikakap on Aug 29th. The second boat, also a small fishing trawler, made up of 53 people of whom 4 are women, 3 children, and 2 men disabled physically from surviving bomb blasts. Their religious breakdown is: 47 Catholics and 6 Hindu. As with the first boat, they are all of Tamil ethnicity. They said the current government in Sri Lanka is anti-Tamil, and forced them from the villages and moved them to “concentration camps” where they were frequently terrorized and brutalized. Many women were raped and killed, 25 people have disappeared from the village since 2009 with no word as to whether they have been killed or are being held in prisons. The people had to ask permission even just to go fishing or searching for food in the jungle, and this request was often denied. Many of them have scars from gunshot wounds, or shrapnel wounds from bomb blasts. One man had his leg amputated at the knee and now wears prosthesis, another had his right leg severely broken so now it is several inches shorter than his left. Unable to stand the conditions, they escaped to South India, procured a boat and set sail on Aug 9th. They ran out of fuel on Aug 19th and floated for 10 days until reaching Malakopak, a fishing village on the South Pagai island and also close to Sikakap. Again the police were called, and their boat brought to Sikakap. Both boats had the goal of reaching Christmas Island where they were confident they would be granted asylum.

More info to follow soon.
Peace,
Karen


Responses

  1. My gosh Karen, these poor people! God Bless you for all you do to try to ease their suffering. I know these kinds of things go on all over the world but you certainly bring it home how heartless the treatment of our fellow man/woman/child is. It is so sad and yet shows what determination and spirit these souls have. I’ll be praying for you all.

  2. God bless you, Karen.


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