81 lorries with supplies reach Vaharai
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 08:00 GMT]
81 lorries of humanitarian supplies from UN aid agency, International NGOs and local NGOs, facilitated and monitored by the ICRC and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, have crossed the Mankerny Sri Lanka Army (SLA) camp into Liberation Tigers controlled Vaharai region in Batticaloa district, held under siege by the SLA. However, food supplies in more than 44 lorries were blocked by the military alleging a military build up of the Tigers on Forward Defence Line (FDL) using the supply routes of humanitarian delivery. Trincomalee District Political Head of the LTTE, S. Elilan, when contacted by TamilNet, denied the SLA claim and said that the SLMM was provided access to verify such claims.
"Sri Lankan military, engaged in an economic war on Tamil civilians, was concocting baseless allegations to block the humanitarian supplies," charged Mr. Elilan.
After the first convoy of 40 lorries had crossed over the Mankerny camp, the SLA attempted to refuse persmission to additional lorries, claiming that Tigers were engaged in military buildup along the Forward Defence Lines.
However, the presence of SLMM, made it possible for another 41 lorries to cross the border, NGO officials said.
NGO sources further said 21 of the 81 lorries had carried tents and water sanitation and health supplies, from local and international NGOs. The supplies were dispatched through the Government Agent.
However, major food supplies by the World Food Programme (WFP) carried in at least 40 lorries, at the end of convoy, were blocked at Mankerny entry point.
The ICRC, SLMM, lorry drivers and the officials in the convoy had been instructed to leave LTTE controlled area by 6:00 p.m.
UN aid agency World Food Programme (WFP) and several NGOs including, World Vision, EHED, IOM, and Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC) had provided the supplies.
Most of the food supplies were packed ready for delivery to each family unit at refugee camps.
38,000 Tamils, most of them Internally Displaced Persons from Trincomalee district, have been starving in Kathiraveli and Vaharai areas as the area remains blocked by the Sri Lanka military that has imposed an economic blockade on the region.
Humanitarian supplies have remained blocked since October 27. and the SLA has been blamed for blocking food supplies into the region, citing hostile artillery attacks.
The Tigers have repeately urged the International Community to exert pressure on Colombo to allow the humanitarian supplies to reach the starving population, and have reiterated the need for the presence of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) at the entry-exit points to be able to verify and adjudicate if any party is sabotaging the supply line.