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Sri Lanka: tea for displaced persons and host communities in Iraq, Pakistan and the West Bank

09-07-2010 News Release 10/130

Colombo (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has purchased 118 tonnes of locally-grown tea in Sri Lanka and shipped it to Jordan and Pakistan for distribution to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and resident populations affected by armed conflict and internal violence.

The first 48 tonnes of tea were sent to Karachi In May this year, and from there the ICRC distributed it to 34,000 IDPs living in camps or with host families.

Khalid Hasan is living in the ICRC-run Khungi Sha camp in Lower Dir District, north-west Pakistan. " Drinking tea is an important element of Pakistani culture, " he says. " Being able to offer tea to my visitors, even in the camp, has helped me maintain a tradition and restore my dignity. "

A consignment of 28 tonnes reached Peshawar in the first week of June, and the ICRC is busy distributing it to around 168,000 people – both displaced persons and residents of the areas where the IDPs are staying.

Finally, the ICRC has sent a shipment of 42 tonnes to its Middle East logistics hub in Jordan, where it will be included in food parcels for 100,000 displaced persons in the West Bank and Iraq.

This Sri Lankan tea meets the ICRC's stringent quality standards for the food it distributes, enabling the ICRC to source all the tea needed for these parcels from the Sri Lanka consignment.

For further information, please contact:
  Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26

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