15,000 newly displaced from Ki'linochchi swell Vanni IDPs to 230,000
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 September 2008, 13:03 GMT]
Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), a humanitarian organization helping the displaced population in Northeast, in a report released Tuesday said, with the food stock in private stores and co-operative stores reaching dangerously low levels, the humanitarian conditions of the more than 230,000 Internally displaced are rapidly deteriorating. Since the departure of foreign NGOs on 16th September under Colombo's directives, 15,217 new IDPs from Ki'linochchi and Poonakari has joined the refugee population, the report added.
"In Ki'linochchi Town and its suburbs there are 3-4 attacks by Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) K-fir bombers and artillery shelling by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). As a result, the schools, government departments and the local administrative services are not functioning at full capacity," the report said.
Pointing out that that Sri Lanka's "Ministry of Defence (MoD) has not allowed any food convoys to cross the Omanthai checkpoint into the Vanni since 5 September denying humanitarian assistance to the displaced and non-displaced population," the TRO report further said that, "The departure, on 16 September, of the United Nations (UN) & international NGOs (29 UN expatriate staff and 13 international NGO staff) from the Vanni effectively suspended all international assistance to the IDPs and the protection that such international witnesses provide."
The report added that the restriction on the number of lorries crossing the Omanthai checkpoint created severe shortages of essential food items (rice, flour, lentils, sugar, and milk powder). The meagre stocks that the GA and private traders had have now been depleted and the population are facing a severe crisis.
TRO appealed to the Government of Sri Lanka, the International Community, the UN and international NGOs to ensure that adequate amounts of food, medicine and other essential humanitarian relief are allowed to pass through the Omanthai Checkpoint. TRO report added that, "at least one month's stock of food must be kept in the Kilinochchi & Mullaitivu Districts to ensure the needs of the civilian population can be fulfilled should the A9 route become unsafe or not secure or the IDPs are forced to move once again."