TNA urges LTTE to prioritize opening of A9, warns humanitarian catastrophe in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Thursday, 26 October 2006, 18:34 GMT]
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in an urgent letter to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Thursday, noting that the humanitarian situation in Jaffna has reached critical levels since the closure of the A9 highway, appealed the Tigers to take-up the opening of the A9 highway as a matter of top priority at the forthcoming talks in Geneva. Sri Lanka Army conrolled Jaffna, with 653,755 persons, requires 11,000 Metric tons of food supplies per month. For the last three months, only 14,000 Metric tons of food items had been sent by ship, the short fall is 19,000 Metric tons. The fuel that is currently available is grossly inadequate.

NGOs and INGOs are being prevented from functioning. More than 100,000 fishermen are badly affected by total ban on fishing. 22% of the population have become IDPs, the TNA appeal to the LTTE noted.

Full text of Tamil National Alliance Parliamentary Group's letter to the LTTE follows:

Tamil National Alliance Parliamentary Group,
Parliamentary Complex,
Sri Jayawardanepura,
Kotte.


26 October 2006


Mr. S. P. Thamilselvan,
Head of Political Section,
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,
Kilinochchi.


Dear Sir,


HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE JAFFNA PENINSULA

The Jaffna peninsula is a humanitarian catastrophe waiting to happen. Since the closure of the A9 highway, which is the only land route that links the Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the island, the humanitarian situation has reached critical levels.

Due to the inability to bring in goods to sell, traders have been very badly affected. Due to the total ban on fishing, the fisher folk have been made destitute. Business has come to a virtual stand-still. Due to the severe restrictions imposed by the GOSL Armed Forces and the unavailability of farming products, farming has also virtually ceased. All in all, the GOSL has made the entire Jaffna District civilian population completely aid dependant.

Having done so, the GOSL is also preventing the necessary aid from reaching the affected people. NGOs and INGOs are being prevented from functioning. Further, the essential rations for the very survival of the population are being severely restricted.

The total population of the Jaffna peninsula is 653,755 persons, 188,266 families. The number of families below the poverty line is 125,465 consisting of 431,516 persons. Out of this only 53, 615 families, consisting of 125,675 persons are the recipients of free dry rations from the GOSL. The number of families dependant entirely on fishing is 17,000, consisting of 100,000 persons. At present fishing is totally banned by the GOSL. Yet none of these families are being provided any assistance from the GOSL. The number of internally displaced families is 42,000.

Total food requirement for the Jaffna peninsula per month is 11,000 Metric Tons, including 8,000 Metric tons of essential food items. For the last three months only 14,000 Metric tons of food items had been sent by ship, the short fall is 19,000 Metric tons.

Fuel requirement per month:
a. Kerosene – 1,500,000 Litres
b. Petrol – 800,000 Litres
c. Diesel – 3,298,000 Litres


However the fuel that is currently available is grossly inadequate. The official figures are being withheld by the GOSL.

Due to the severe shortage of all conceivable items in the Jaffna peninsula, families are forced to stand in cues that stretch for miles on end. The cues start forming as early as 4:00 a.m. in the morning. Even children are compelled to take turns in the queues and as a result are not attending schools. The prices of goods have reached unaffordable levels.

As you will appreciate, this is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. The civilian population has reached breaking point. As the delegation that has been entrusted the immense responsibility of negotiating on behalf of the entire Tamil Nation, we bring these matters to your urgent attention. We expect your delegation to give priority to the humanitarian crisis facing the Tamil population in the North-East, the situation in Jaffna being the most severe.

You will also appreciate that most of the suffering that the people in Jaffna are undergoing is primarily due to the closure of the A9 highway. The opening of the highway has been provided for in the Ceasefire Agreement itself. Therefore we strongly appeal to you take-up the opening the A9 highway as a matter of top priority at the forth coming talks with the GOSL in Geneva.

Yours truly,



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