Humanitarian crisis: 42,000 displaced in LTTE areas

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 August 2006, 13:10 GMT]
Close to 42,000 civilians are trapped and displaced, without food, water, or medical assistance in LTTE areas of Eachchilampattu, Sampoor, Verugal, Kathiraveli, Vaharai and surrounding villages, the LTTE Peace Secretariat said Thursday. Sri Lanka’s military is blocking ICRC and UN relief supplies from reaching Vaharai, northern Batticaloa. UNICEF estimated that of the 40,000 civilians displaced half are women and children. The Head of the LTTE’s Peace Secretariat, S. Puleedevan, has contacted the British and Norwegian diplomatic missions in Colombo as well as Oslo’s Special Envoy, Jon Hansen-Bauer, over the humanitarian crisis.

“For the last three months the Sri Lankan government imposed an undeclared embargo on food and other essential items to the LTTE areas,” a statement by the LTTE Peace Secretariat said.

“For the last three weeks the GoSL has imposed an even more severe embargo on relief items sent by ICRC, UN and international aid agencies, aggravating the humanitarian situation in LTTE areas.”

ICRC relief has been blocked at the Mankerni checkpoint and the Panichchankerni checkpoint for the last two days, the statement said. The UN has said over the aid being blocked to civilians in LTTE areas by SLA checkpoints in Somapura and Kiliveddi.

“While attempting to escape from this dire situation again, civilians were targeted by GoSL’s shelling and aerial bombardment,” the LTTE Peace Secreterait said.

“Displaced civilians who have reached safer areas in Vaharai continue to be without food and water due to the continued GoSL military offensive and embargo on food items coming from Batticaloa district.

“The blockage of relief coupled with the GoSL military strikes have made it impossible for civilians to seek any safety or normalcy.”

The Head of the LTTE’s Peace Secretariat, S. Puleedevan, has telephoned the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ms. Leslie Criag, Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar and Norway’s Special Envoy, Mr. Jon Hansen-Bauer, over the deepening humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Puleedevan has urged them to urgently intervene to on behalf of the tens of thousands of helpless displaced, sources said.


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