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Sri Lanka: Conflict-hit population to receive Indian government aid through ICRC

20-11-2008 News Release 08/214

New Delhi / Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross has received a donation of 80,000 family parcels from the Indian government for distribution to families in northern Sri Lanka affected by the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The donation comprises almost 1,700 tonnes of hygiene items, clothes and food, which will cover the basic needs of the families for three to four weeks.

" The ICRC will be distributing the aid provided by the Indian government directly to displaced people and residents affected by the conflict in the Vanni [northern Sri Lanka ] . We will do so in accordance with our own independent assessment of people’s needs, " explained François Stamm, who heads the ICRC’s regional delegation in New Delhi. " By making this donation through the ICRC, the Indian government is acknowledging our organization's neutrality and independence, and its expertise in delivering aid in conflict-affected areas. That is highly encouraging. "

The ICRC has been working in Sri Lanka since 1989. Although the upsurge in fighting is making it increasingly difficult for humanitarian workers to gain access to the north of the island, the ICRC is maintaining its permanent presence in the Vanni and continuing to provide humanitarian assistance for displaced people, with the agreement of both parties to the conflict.

 
For further information, please contact:
  Stéphanie Bouaziz, ICRC New Delhi, tel +91 11 422 110 00 or +91 98 717 98385
  Sarasi Wijeratne, ICRC Colombo, tel +94 11 250 33 46 or +94 773 1588 44
  Aleksandra Matijevic, ICRC Colombo, tel + 94 11 250 33 46 or + 94 777 289 682