Economic crisis in Sri Lanka triggers exodus to India, refugees land on TN coast

Economic crisis in Sri Lanka triggers exodus to India, refugees land on TN coast
Soldiers guard a service station as people wait to get fuel in Colombo on March 23, 2022. The South Asian island nation is grappling with its worst economic meltdown in over seven decades, with rolling electricity blackouts and essential goods such as food and cooking gas also in short supply. Photo: by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

Chennai: The economic crisis in Sri Lanka has triggered an exodus of people to India, especially to Tamil Nadu.

Refugees are coming to Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu in large numbers, crossing the Palk Strait in search of a safe haven and food.

On Tuesday, six people from Sri Lanka were rescued by the Indian Coast Guard from a small island inside the Palk Strait off the coast of Rameswaram Island, also known as Pamban Island. A youth, his wife, and their four-month-old child along with another woman and her 12-year-old and six-year-old children were rescued.

They could manage to escape from Sri Lanka and got into a boat after giving Rs 50,000 to a human trafficking mafia. The refugees were dropped by the boat crew at the desolated island at Arichal Munai, which lies a few kilometers away from Rameshwaram.

(Arichal Munai is the tip of the Indian mainland.)

Once reaching Rameshwaram, they were shifted to the relief camp opened for the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees at Mandapam.

One of the persons who were in the team said that many people, who had already given money to the human trafficking mafia, were waiting in Sri Lanka to enter the boats heading for Rameshwaram.

It was after 12 years that such an exodus began. After the end of conflicts between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government in 2009, this was for the first time that refugees started coming to India from the island nation crossing the Palk Strait.

In Sri Lanka, the situation is now so pathetic that fuel and food are not available at many places even if you are ready to pay.

As reported earlier the annual school examinations were postponed owing to the acute shortage of pen and paper. People have started leaving the nation after an acute shortage of food was felt.

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