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Sri Lanka: emergency relief ready for northem Sri Lanka

08-11-1995 News Release 45

In view of the exceedingly volatile situation, worsened by the recent arrival of the monsoon rains, the ICRC has assembled a consignment of 1,500 MT of flour, 3 MT of medical supplies (drugs) and 8 MT of emergency supplies such as rolls of plastic sheeting to provide emergency shelter for some of the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting in the Jaffna peninsula. The ICRC-chartered M.V Habarana is scheduled to sail from Trincomalee for Point Pedro as soon as clearance is given by the Sri Lankan authorities. On 7 November, the Sri Lankan government asked the ICRC to coordinate all relief operations in this particular region.

Northern Sri Lanka is currently in the grip of confusion and fear. Large numbers of people have left their homes and have settled in makeshift camps or are still of the move. The onset of the monsoon rains means that not only is there need for shelter and to forestall the outbreak of epidemics (dysentery, diarrhoea, malaria...) but heavy seas frequently disrupt shipping plans. The only humanitarian supply line open to the Northern part of the island is via the various ICRC protected boats conveying government provided food and medicine as well as other emergency relief supplies. A second ICRC-protected ship, carrying 3,500 MT of relief supplies is scheduled to leave Colombo shortly.