Father Arulanandam Johnaly Yavis and military personnel handing over boats to fishermen in Mullativu town
Caritas has launched a recovery program in one of the worst-affected areas in Sri Lanka’s recent civil war to restore the livelihoods of fisherman and their families.
Having first obtained permission from the government, Church officials recently selected 80 fisher families in Mullaitivu district on the northern coast, and kitted them out with everything they need to return to a normal life.
Items provided included 40 boats as well as outboard engines, nets and other accessories.
The Catholic Church's social arm said the families should find themselves turning their lives around very quickly as the fish stocks off Sri Lanka’s northern coast had not been fully exploited while the three-decade-long war was raging.
“Their livelihoods depended on fishing before the conflict, now they will have this great opportunity to revive their livelihoods, free of serious threats and with protection from the navy and assistance from the government,” said Father Arulanandam Johnaly Yavis, the Caritas chief in Kilinochchi deanery at the distribution ceremony in Mullaitivu.
According to media reports, over 3,000 fisher families in Mullaitivu district lost everything during the war and many are still struggling to make ends meet.
Another 1,000 families are still in refugee camps waiting for resettlement.
Recipients of the aid said the boats and other accessories would assist them immensely and expressed their gratitude to Caritas for their help.
Thileepan Theogupillai, 42, who lost many relatives, including his father, during the conflict, couldn’t believe his luck.
“Only wealthy fishermen could purchase a boat and fishing gear like this,” he smiled.
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