Disaster Management Task Force Units setup in Northeast

[TamilNet, Monday, 27 December 2004, 18:09 GMT]
Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan, Head of the LTTE Political Wing in an urgent meeting with the International NGOs, District Secretaries, TRO officials and local NGOs requested to set up a North-East Disaster Management Steering Committee and Special Task Force Units consisting of the District Secretaries, INGO’s, TRO,local NGO’s and representatives of the Planning and Development Secretariat of the LTTE. Similar mechanisms for the districts of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai have also been planned and details would be worked out in the respective districts soon, an LTTE news release said.

Fulltext of the news release published at the website of LTTE's Peace Secretariat follows:

North-East Disaster Management - Steering committee and Task force
INGO’s, District Secretaries, TRO & other NGO’s meet in PDS

Mr.S.P.Tamilselvan, Head of the LTTE Political Division convened an urgent special meeting in the Planning and Development Secretariat (PDS) this evening, 27 December 2004 with a view to review the current situation relating to relief and rescue operations in the areas affected by the tidal wave that struck the North-East coast in the morning hours of 26 December 2004.

Mr.Tamilselvan emphasized the necessity to coordinate the relief and rescue operations and suggested the setting up of a Steering committee and Special Task Forces to function under it, consisting of the District Secretaries, INGO’s, TRO,local NGO’s and representatives of the Planning and Development Secretariat of the LTTE. After lengthy discussions and deliberations, taking into account the complexity of the problems faced by the rescue and relief teams, it was decided to appoint two Task Force Units, one at Mulliyawalai closer to the worst affected area of Mullaittivu and another one at Puthukkadu junction on the A-9 highway with closer access to Thalayadi, the other coastal village worst hit. These Task Force units will meet tomorrow, 28 December at 09.00 at Puthukkadu Junction and 14.00 at Mulliyawalai to plan out the strategy.

Similar mechanisms for the districts of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai have also been planned and details would be worked out in the respective districts soon. The Task Force will have as the coordinator, a representative of the PDS, District Secretary, Departmental Heads in the District, Head of the District Political Division, Administrative Head, Head of Health Services of the LTTE, INGO representatives, TRO and representative of the District Consortium.

District Secretaries of Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu and the representatives of TRO, INGO’s and local NGO’s presented an overview of the relief and rescue operations already underway. Though Vavuniya district was not directly affected, the District Secretary was present in the meeting since many of the coordinating efforts from Vavuniya were initiated by him, interacting with the relevant authorities and INGO’s since Mullaittivu has no telephone links and the telephone service in Kilinochchi has become dysfunctional. He detailed the steps already taken to send additional stocks of medicines, ambulances and medical officers to the affected areas.

Milk food for children, clothing, blankets, bed sheets, mats, dry rations, drinking water, toilets and urgent medicines were identified as the immediate requirements for the displaced population now housed in public buildings. Representatives of the INGO’s present were concerned about the actual figures of displaced, dead, injured and reported missing. From data collected at noon today, it is roughly estimated that 772 bodies in Mullaittivu and 600 in Thlayadi were recovered and aid workers continue to search for more bodies that would have been entangled in the debris of buildings in the vicinity. The Special Task Force will also set up a unit to collect data relating to the numbers displaced and housed in public buildings, dead, reported missing and injured.

 

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