Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, MP, has alleged that the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was seeking to exploit the predicament of the children orphaned by the recent landslide at Koslanda to gain political mileage..
Minister Amaraweera was responding to the TNA-run Northern Provincial Council passing a resolution to adopt those children.
Contrary to earlier reports, the Disaster Management Centre has now established that only three children lost both parents, while four lost one parent each. Initial reports placed the number of children who had lost both parents at 75.
Addressing the media at the SLFP headquarters, Minister Amaraweera said that the government was capable of looking after the orphans and other children affected by the disaster.
Commenting on Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran’s visit to Koslanda to inquire into the welfare of landslide victims, especially orphans, Minister Amaraweera said that the TNA leadership had remained silent when the LTTE used children as cannon fodder and the entire Vanni population was turned into a human shield during the last phase of the conflict.
“Under the directions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, we are in the process of completing the necessary paper work to take over the responsibility of orphans,” Hambantota District MP said. Recollecting the crisis caused by Dec 2004 tsunami, the minister said that the government had realised the folly of handing over tsunami orphans to their relatives. The minister acknowledged that the decision to hand over tsunami orphans was nothing but a disaster.
The minister said that former Supreme Court judge Vigneswaran had a right to visit those affected, but there was no need for the Northern Provincial Council to be worried about the welfare of the victims who were being well look after. The government welcomed Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s move to help landslide affected people, but government had enough funds to take care of them, he added.
Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera strongly condemned the TNA for welcoming a controversial decision taken by the EU to de-proscribe the LTTE.