http://www.bbcsinhala.com

23 June, 2009 - Published 15:03 GMT

'Malnourished children' in IDP camps

Nearly 5000 Internally Displaced (IDP) children in Vavuniya camps are malnourished, a charity that works in Menik Farm IDP camp says.

Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, Executive Director of Sarvodaya told BBC Sandeshaya that there are about 30,000 -35,000 children in Menk Farm.

“Many of them are suffering from diseases and some still suffer from injuries,” he said.

15-20 percent of these children are also suffering from chronic malnutrition and acute malnutrition, he said.

The majority of those children are suffering from accute malnutrition as a result of fleeing place to place during the last stages of war without having proper meal, Dr. Ariyaratne added.

Toilet facilities

He further said that health ministry is working together with Sarvodaya, UNICEF and other organisers to eradicate malnutrition among IDP children in Vavuniya camps.

“It can, however, take few weeks to few months for these children to recover,” Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne told BBC Sinhala service.

The children are currently well fed, he said, but it will be difficult to cure these children within a short period of time.

He further added that the authorities are working to resolve the shortage of toilets.

“The international standard is for 20 people to use one toilet but in Menik Farm about 70 people are sharing one toilet,” he said.

Nearly 250,000 to 300,000 IDPs are housed in Menik Farm camp in Vavuniya. The majority of these IDPs have fled final battles between the Sri Lanka military and the LTTE in May.