ICRC ferry transports 150 passengers from Jaffna to Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Saturday, 26 August 2006, 06:54 GMT]
A ferry, Seruwa, flying the flag of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) that left the port of Trincomalee Friday, is transporting 150 of aroud 5000 persons waiting for transport from Jaffna on Saturday. Foreign nationals from the International NGOs, except UN, ICRC, and a few other NGOs, are among the first to be transported from Jaffna, cut off by renewed fighting, sources at Jaffna District Secretariat said.

The local authorities will carry out the evacuation Saturday morning with the co-operation with the ICRC staff, said a press release issued by the ICRC in Colombo Friday evening.

The press release further states:-

The ferry is carrying sufficient food and water to cater for 150 people during the return trip, as well as some emergency medicines and 320 blankets." The vessel is expected to reach Jaffna in the evening," said ICRC Field Co-ordinator Serge Thierry, on the of the three staff members from the organization on board.

Both parties to the conflict have provided security guarantees for the operation. Once the ferry returns Trincomalee, the evacuees will be transferred by bus to Colombo under ICRC escort." We are discussing with both parties to the conflict the possibility of carrying out further evacuations," said Toon Vandenhove, head of the organization's delegation in Colombo.

Meanwhile another ship that left Colombo on Wednesday under the ICRC flag carrying food and medicine provided by the Sri Lankan government and the World Food Programme (WFP) arrived at Point Pedro Thursday evening. Unloading of the 1,500 tonnes of supplies began early Friday morning, the ICRC release concludes.


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