U.N. secretary-general in Sri Lanka visit


Displaced Tamil civilians at Manik farm in the northern Sri Lankan district of Vavuniya.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon toured a displacement camp in Sri Lanka on Saturday, days after the country declared victory in a 25-year civil war against rebels.

He visited portions of Manik Farm, a sprawling camp for internally displaced people in the country’s north. Some in the camp had experienced fierce fighting in recent months, saying they did not believe at points that they were going to survive. The Sri Lankan government declared victory Tuesday in the country’s 25-year civil war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, eliciting celebrations in some parts of the country. However, humanitarian groups and the United Nations worry over the hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by the fighting. Ban, who arrived Friday in South Asian island nation, said he had come to offer help and partnership.

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About 250,000 to 300,000 people are refugees in the country, according to humanitarian groups and U.N. figures. “I hope my visit today can help begin a process of national recovery, renewal and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans,” Ban said in a written statement issued Friday. “That is why I am here.” Ban said he would urge the government to expedite the screening and processing of refugees, and ensure that the displacement camps have adequate supplies of food, medicine and water.

Some in the Manik camp told CNN there has not been enough water. Ban said he would meet with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and senior advisers on Saturday.

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