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Activists warn of possible rape of tsunami survivors


Mon Jan 3,10:58 AM ET



COLOMBO (AFP) - Women activists urged Sri Lankan authorities to step up protection for tsunami survivors amid unconfirmed reports some had been molested or even gang raped at refugee shelters



The rights group, Women and Media Collective, urged stepped up protection for women and children who were more vulnerable after they were driven out of their homes by last week's tsunamis that killed more than 30,000 people.



"We have received reports of incidents of rape, rang rape, molestation and physical abuse of women and girls in the course of unsupervised rescue operations and while resident in temporary shelters," it said in a statement.



The group said the incidents were mainly in the southern region, but did not give details of the crimes nor did it say how many such cases had been reported to them.



However, the southern region police chief D.W. Prathapasinghe said there were "rumours" of rape, but they were yet to receive any complaint or any information that could help them to launch an investigation.



"We have not had any complaints, even from other refugees," Prathapasinghe told AFP. "We have deployed police and soldiers at every shelter for the protection of refugees."



"Those who make allegations unfortunately do not give us details that would help an investigation. Our not receiving a complaints does not mean that these terrible things did not take place. We are also very concerned."



Carol Bellamy, executive director of the UN Children's Fund, told a media conference in Colombo part of the focus of her organisation's work in the country was to "ensure children are protected from exploitation."



"In tumult like this, when families are broken apart, when incomes are lost, when dignity and hope are in short supply, children are more vulnerable to abuses," Bellamy said.



"Our relief efforts must be conceived and carried out in a way that reduces these vulnerabilities and helps restore children's trust in the world."



More than 30,000 people were killed while 3,792 people are reported missing after last week's tsunami strike that also left nearly a million people homeless.







this just makes me sick, we live in a crappy world

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That's a really horrible story, but hardly unexpected. Psychopaths that do things like this don't care about the circumstances these people are going through.

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