Kofi Annan to visit Mullaitivu and other affected areas

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 January 2005, 10:58 GMT]
United Nation's Secretary General Koffi Annan will visit 'some of the hardest hit areas' in Sri Lanka when he visits the country on Friday, UN sources said Wednesday. Foreign ministry sources said Koffi Annan will visit Ampara, Galle, Hambantatota and Mullaitivu, areas worst hit by the tsunami waves on December 26.

Kofi annanHowever, UN s ources in Colombo declined to name the areas he and his wife will visit during their two-day visit to Sri Lanka, which suffered the worst damage next to Indonesia. Sri Lanka's death toll climbed to 30,229 on Wednesday and is expected to increase with the numbers missing still over 5,000 persons.

LTTE spokesman Daya Master confirmed to Tamilnet that the UN Secretary General would visit some of the worst affected villages in the LTTE controlled areas. He said LTTE political chief S. P. Thamilselvan would receive him and brief him about the damages and the needs of the areas under their control.

UN chief is visiting Sri Lanka on a two-day official visit after attending the special summit of ASEAN leaders to be held in Jakarta on Thursday.

UN sources said the main objective of its officials and agencies is to reach and render help to the people who suffered. UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy set the example by visiting the areas under LTTE control and holding talks government officials, Tamil Tiger leaders and heads of non-governmental organizations during her visit through the island early this week.

"I am aware that there are parts of the country that have not yet been reached by relief workers and that the suffering among the survivors there is severe," she told media. "The death and devastation are truly overwhelming," added Bellamy, who has headed UNICEF since 1995.

Besides Annan US Secretary of State Colin Powell and World Bank chairman James Wolfensohn would be arriving in Colombo on separate visits this week to assess the damage.

Earlier this week UN Secretary General's Special Envoy on Relief Operations, Margareta Wahlstrom visited Sri Lanka.

Ministers from some other western countries including France have also been visiting Sri Lanka to provide financial and moral support.

Meanwhile US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will visit Sri Lanka this week, US embassy in Colombo announced today. "Senator Frist is traveling to get a first-hand account of the areas devastated by the tsunami and the plight of the people, especially children. He also wants to observe US aid agencies in action to ensure American assistance is flowing as efficiently and effectively as possible," the embassy press release said.


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