Fuel shortage threatens provision of drinking water in Vanni

[TamilNet, Saturday, 20 September 2008, 10:45 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has instructed the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) not to allow Humanitarian Convoys to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Ki'linochchi district with food items provided under the United Nations World Food Programme, as a "punishment" for the people of Ki'linochhci district for not "obeying" its instruction to leave Ki'linochhi to Vavuniyaa, according to an official attached to Vavuniyaa District Secretariat. Meanwhile, North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR) in a press statement issued on Saturday said fuel shortage has severely affected the provision of drinking water to the internally displaced civilians.

NESoHR statement said no pertrol or diesel is permitted into Vanni except for very strict and inadequate quota for the hospital and government offices. Even this quota has not reached the district as humanitarian convoys have been blocked.

The official at Vavuniyaa DS, who didn't wish to be named, told TamilNet that the GoSL allowed humanitarian supplies, although the quota is below the requirement, to the Mullaiththeevu district. "But, in the first phase, supplies to Ki'linochchi district have been blocked as a direct punishment to the IDPs of Ki'linochchi," he said adding that the GoSL was using the humanitarian supplies provided by the UN and other International aid agencies as a tool of war.

Government Agent of Ki'linochchi district was earlier instructed by the Government of Sri Lanka to operate from Vavuniyaa while it engaged the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopters to drop leaflets over Ki'linochchi, threatening heavy casualties to civilians unless they moved to SLA controlled Vavuniyaa.

The UN agencies and aid workers of International NGOs, except the ICRC, were instructed to leave Vanni by the GoSL thereafter.

Tamil National Alliance leader S. Sampanthan, addressing the Sri Lankan Parilament on 09 September had noted that the Sri Lankan Government, though it talks big about its concern for the displaced people in Vanni, does nothing more than make available to these people the meagre food items provided under the United Nations World Food Programme, charging that the Sri Lankan state was contributing to the erosion and eventual destruction of its own sovereignty.

The NESoHR in its latest report said: "When there was surge in the number of IDPs in 2008, the poor stock levels limited the relief given to the displaced people. World Food Program pitched in to improve the situation in August but it was ordered out of Vanni with the other UN agencies in September."

The new IDPs have not received any relief to date. Citing the District Secretariat sources, the NESoHR listed the stock available in Ki'linochchi DS to the 162,191 registered IDPs. 26,000 more people have displaced this month in the district.

NESoHR report listed the available stock with District Secretarait in Ki'linochchi:
  1. Rice - required: 913 MT, availale: nil.
  2. Flour - required: 913 MT, availale: 45 MT.
  3. Lentils - required: 274 MT, availale: 9 MT.
  4. Sugar - required: 913 MT, availale: nil.
6,500 IDP families are presently living without shelter under the shade of trees in Ki'linochchi district.

 

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