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Govt. says only 65,000 not 450,000 civilians remain in Mullaitivu

The government yesterday claimed that only about 65,000 civilians remain in Mullaitivu and not 450,000 as stated by the LTTE.

Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishard Baduideen, addressing the Cabinet press briefing at the Information Department, said that the LTTE inflated the number of civilians under its control to 450,000 to obtain more supplies of food and medicine from the government. "In future we will send supplies for about 100,000 people."

The displaced are being housed in government buildings and schools in Vavuniya and Mannar. Those who came over from Mullaitivu yesterday included ten LTTE cadres. They would be housed with the others or separately depending on their requests, he said.

"The first phase of the programme to build 40,000 houses for the IDP’s began today in Vavuniya and Chetttikulam. Intially 10,000 units will be constructed. We are also making arrangements to train the IDP’s in various fields and find them suitable employment either in Sri Lanka or abroad," he said.

Baduideen, said that a hot line will be operated for those wishing to obtain details of their relatives crossing over to government controlled areas.

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