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Sri Lanka: ICRC aid for thousands of displaced people

09-12-1998 News Release 98/49

Following the fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) that took place on 3 December around Oddusuddan in the northern Vanni region, the ICRC distributed non-food aid to some of the 12,000 civilians who had fled to the town of Puthukkudiyiruppu.

After liaising with the local NGO consortium and the Assistant Government Agent on the spot, the ICRC visited all the places where the displaced families are currently housed to assess their living conditions. Delegates subsequently supplied 2,000 people with plastic sheeting, coir rope, kitchen sets, plastic basins, buckets and soap. Local NGOs provided the displaced civilians with basic foodstuffs and cooked meals for three days, thanks to the Sri Lankan government's emergency food assistance fund.

About half of the displaced found shelter with relatives and friends, and the rest have been accommodated in ten school buildings in Puthukkudiyiruppu.

Since 1983, the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE has claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people, and over 300,000 remain displaced.