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DateLine Sunday, 17 August 2008

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Govt ready to shelter civilians fleeing Wanni battle

Security forces move forward:

As fighting intensifies and the security forces move forward in the Wanni to capture the LTTE’s heartland, the government said it was fully geared to provide facilities for an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 civilians trapped in uncleared areas.

Despite food and medicine going into the hands of the LTTE, the government will continue to supply essential food items for civilians in the Wanni.

Government Agents of Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar have been instructed by the Senior Advisor MP Basil Rajapaksa and Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe to prepare an assessment to expedite the humanitarian assistance for those who flee uncleared areas.

Over 12,000 civilians who fled uncleared areas during the past two months have been provided with all basic facilities.

The Wanni Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Jagath Jayasooriya said that arrangements had been made to provide facilities for civilians fleeing uncleared areas and the sites to set up new IDP centres had been already earmarked.

“We have instructed the GAs to inform civilians that the security forces are moving into the Wanni and asked them to abandon the uncleared areas as facilities have been arranged to welcome them”, he said.

He said that there would not be a food crisis in the Wanni as the government sent all essential food items through GAs, NGOs and INGOs.

“The GAs have confirmed that there is no scarcity of food whatsoever in these areas”, he said.

Maj. Gen. Jayasooriya said that civilians who come to government controlled areas would initially be sheltered in schools and religious places while they would be provided all basic facilities and housed in IDP centres to be set up soon. “We have facilities to accommodate all new IDPs”, he said.

He said that all equipment belonging to humanitarian agencies would be subjected to a tough checking process at the Omanthai entry exit point but the activities of some NGOs were unknown after they reach LTTE controlled areas.

The Wanni Security Forces Commander said the food stocks would be doubled when the stocks sent by the NGOs for the IDPs in Wanni is added to the stocks sent by the government to the civilians.

Meanwhile, the United Nation’s Humanitarian Agency and the International Committee of Red Cross confirmed that IDPs in the Wanni had access to food and other facilities.

According to UN statistics nearly 145,000 IDPs are still in LTTE controlled areas.

Monthly food stocks sent to:

Kilinochchi district

* Essential food items - 740 metric tonnes

* Other food items - 680 mt

* Non-food items - 430 mt.

Food stocks sent by the World Food

Program (WFP) - 1,394 mt

Food stocks sent by the Ministry of

Disaster Management - 125 mt

Mullaithivu District

* Essential food items - 816 mt

* Other food items - 650 mt

* Non-food items - 600 mt.

Food stocks sent by the World Food

Program (WFP) - 1,229 mt

Uncleared areas in Vavuniya

* Essential food items - 125 mt

* Other food items - 100 mt

* Non-food items - 94 mt.

Food stocks sent by the World Food

Program (WFP) - 200 mt.

 

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