Lanka customs confiscates relief medical supplies

[TamilNet, Friday, 18 March 2005, 10:37 GMT]
After delaying two weeks in providing clearance to a container sent from North Carolina, the Sri Lanka customs confiscated 54 boxes of medical supplies and transferred the items for delivery through their own Social Services Ministry, and charged $1000 for the rest of the 168 boxes of other relief supplies, officals of the North Carolinians for Peace (NCFP) told TamilNet. The Clearing agent, Capitol Area Lions Club has been instructed to deliver the cleared relief material to "cleared areas," (Government controlled areas) only, NCFP officials added.

NCFP officials said the confiscated medical supplies cost approximately $6,000 and "included children's multivitamins, folic acid tablets, antibiotics, tylenol, aspirin,nebulizers, dressings for wounds, hydrogen peroxide, isopropanol, antibioticcreams, IV lines, suture materials and insulin syringes."

On the relief supplies that were cleared, the NCFP said, "We have requested them [Lions Club] to take the relief materials to the Batticaloa district. We have identified certain camps that are badly neglected in the cleared (occupied regions). The camps are in the Navatkudah area which were identified through Mr. Francis Xavier of the Home for Human Rights (HHR)," NCFP officials said.

NCFP is also looking for further information on other needy welfare camps in the Batticaloa district.

Condemning the actions of the Sri Lanka Government in preventing relief supplies reaching NorthEast, the NCPF said, the supplies were "donated and purchased by hundreds of North Carolinians with the specific intention to deliver to the hospitals and health centers in the neglected NorthEast Sri Lanka. It is wrong on the part of the Sri Lankan government to confiscate basic humanitarian aid."

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister, Mr Kadirgarmer in a recent interview with BBC has said that until 26th April no relief items will be taxed.

NCFP is appealing to North Carolinians and others interested in highlighting the actions of the Sri Lanka Government by calling the following Congressmen and Congresswomen to pressure the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington to take remedial measures releasing relief supplies without taxes.

Senator Richard Burr (336) 631-5125
fax: 336 725-4493
Senator Elizabeth Dole (919)856-4630
Fax: 919 856-4053
Congressman David Price (4th District) (919)-859-5999
Fax: 919 859-5998
Congressman Bob Etheridge (2nd district) (919) 829-9122
Fax: 202 225-5662
Congressman Mike McIntyre (7th District) (910) 815-4959
Fax: 910 815-4543
Congressman Howard Coble (6th District) (336) 333-5048
Fax: 336 333-5048
Congressman G.K. Butterfield (1st District)(252) 237-9816
Fax: 252 291-0356
Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (5th District) 336-778-0173


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