Diaspora prepares to send relief to forsaken civilians in Vanni
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 March 2009, 23:47 GMT] The Tamil diaspora in Britain is organising a direct 'mercy mission' taking food and medicine to the civilians of Vanni, forsaken by the conscience of the International Community, said Dr. V. Arudkumar from London, on Tuesday. Prominent humanitarian personalities are expected to participate in this mission. The expedition will be supported and participated by diaspora Tamil professionals in the medical field.
Dr. V. Arudkumar
Politicians and legal experts are already engaged in deliberations in materialising the mission, Dr. Arudkumar said. Further details of the mission would be released at the end of this week, he further said.
The move by the Tamil diaspora in Britain comes as heavy rains and min-cyclone destroyed the tents of the displaced people causing more than 20,000 families stranded without shelters. Indiscriminate shelling by the Sri Lanka Army, using internationally banned cluster munitions and fire-bombs continued to target civilian settlements inside the 'safe zone'.
An ICRC worker was killed last week inside the civilian zone. Another humanitarian worker was wounded on Tuesday. Details are yet to emerge.
Relief initiatives and offers of voluntary services were also reported from the diaspora medical professionals of Australia and Norway.
The Tamil diaspora is seriously considering a 'mercy mission' as Sri Lanka is yet to provide safe passage to the requests extended by the charity organisations in Australia and Norway where doctors had urged their foreign ministries, United Nations Secretary General and the ICRC to secure urgent permission from Sri Lankan authorities to facilitate safe passage of their convoy of doctors and medical supplies to Vanni.
Dr. Panchakulasingam Kandiah, Senior Consultant Radiologist of Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, said on 27 February that the medical team of the Norwegian Tamils Health Organisation (NTHO) was prepared to work inside the 'safe zone' without any safety assurances from the Government of Sri Lanka. "However, the NTHO requires necessary guarantees for our safe passage through Colombo and government's permission to reach the conflict zone with ICRC escort," he had said in a press conference to the Norwegian media in Oslo.
The latest British move is a pure humanitarian effort, Dr. Arudkumar said. "We will send an open appeal to all concerned, but are prepared to proceed with our mission as we need to act fast." All necessary judicial and humanitarian precautions would be taken care of, he said adding that a team of experts were dealing with the preparatory measures.