Top priority given to dry rations, other essentials for IDPs

The delivery of the first convoy of 60 lorry loads of dry rations and other essential requirements for Internally Displaced Persons of Killinochchi, who have taken refuge in the Mullaitivu district, is being given top priority.

A high level meeting of UN humanitarian Agencies Chaired by Senior Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday with Chief of Defence Staff Air Vice Marshall Donald Perera and Minister of Resettlement Rischard Badhuideen ironed out the details.

The meeting was convened on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who said that there must be no delay on the part of the government to dispatch relief to the Tamil people who are suffering due to no fault of theirs, but the consequences of the LTTE, soon after he returned from the 63rd UNGA sessions in New York.

Minister Rischard Badhuideen said that it was decided that the convoy would not enter the Wanni via Killinochchi due to the intensity of the fighting as advised by Military top brass and go along A-9 to enter Wanni via Mankulam.

He said that though it was reported that the majority of the people had fled the intense shelling and fighting in the Killinochchi sector and taken shelter in Dharmapuram and other areas of the Mullaitivu district 30 lorry loads of relief would be sent to Killinochchi and another 30 lorries to Mullaithivu.

He said that President had instructed that all equipment required to provide clean drinking water, sanitary facilities and shelter be dispatched immediately to the Wanni.

Further essential food items such as rice, wheat flour, sugar, pulses, vegetable oil and essential drugs and medicines were being dispatched.

The spokesperson for the ICRC Sarasi Wijeratne yesterday said that the ICRC will support the relevant stakeholders in their efforts to continue providing food to internally displaced persons and residents in the Wanni.

"Our presence at Omanthai will continue to facilitate the passage of civilians and goods between Government and LTTE controlled areas including UN food convoys should they materialize, we will not accompany food convoys or get involved in the distribution of food."

Presidential advisor and the Commissioner General of Essential Services S. B. Divaratne , Deputy country director of the World Food Programme Azeb Asrat, Resident Representative UN Neil Buhne were present.

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