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14 June, 2009 - Published 15:47 GMT

'UN responsible' for IDP toilets

The Sri Lankan government says that the United Nations should take responsibility for not providing enough toilet facilities for the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Vavuniya camps.

The UN has said that only half of the toilets and minimum facilities for bathing are available for IDPs in the camps.

However, Resettlement Minister Risath Bathiuddeen told BBC Sandeshaya that the UN was offered government land and UN received international funding to provide adequate facilities.

“The delay is from their part, the government is not responsible for the dealy,” he said.

'Elderly IDPs dying'

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka government says it is not abnormal that some elderly IDPs die while in the camps.

Deputy Minister in charge of social services Lionel Premasiri told BBC Sandeshaya that majority among nearly 270,000 IDPs are elderly and children.

"So it is natural that some elderly people die in the camps," he said.

He added that the police have taken over from the military on resettling elderly people.

Minister Lionel Premasiri admitted that the conditions in the camps are not ideal.

"Of course conditions are not similar to their own homes or hotels but we have provided them with adequate facilities," he said.

The minister said the government has to be careful while handing over elderly displaced people to their relatives as there is a risk of them being abused by the relatives.

In a report issued on Friday, Human Rights Watch says that a significant number of people in these camps have close relatives in the region with whom they could stay if they were let out.

The government has prevented everyone in camps it controls between the ages of 10 and 60 from leaving, citing security reasons.

The government has earlier announced that the elderly IDPs over 60 year will soon be handed over to the relatives.