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Sri Lanka: ICRC assists displaced civilians in Batticaloa

13-03-2007 News Release 07/07

The ICRC has stepped up its relief operation in Batticaloa district in order to assist several thousand civilians who have been displaced over the past four days by fighting between the Sri Lankan security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

These newly displaced people fled their homes in the Vavunatheevu and Karadiyanaru areas and headed for the town of Batticaloa, where they are now sheltering in local schools and in camps set up over the past few months by humanitarian organizations working in cooperation with the local authorities. Together with the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, the ICRC has already provided about 5,000 of these people with 1,750 mats, 900 tents, 450 hygiene kits (soap, washing powder, razors, towels and shampoo), 850 jerrycans, 170 baby kits (laundry soap, washable diapers, baby powder, blankets and towels).

The ICRC is also installing sanitary facilities and water-distribution systems at Korralankerni camp, where the newly displaced are gradually arriving. In other camps, located in Alankulam, Kiran and Mavadivembu, the ICRC is continuing to distribute drinking water on a daily basis and to build latrines and showers. The ICRC launched its relief operation in Batticaloa district in cooperation with the local authorities and other humanitarian organizations present on the ground.

The ICRC reminds both parties to the conflict of their obligation to comply with international humanitarian law, especially of their duty to protect the civilian population and to grant freedom of movement to internally displaced people.

  For further information, please contact:
  Davide Vignati, ICRC Colombo, tel : +94 11 250 33 46 or +94 77 728 96 82
  Marco Yuri Jiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 79 217 3217