165,000 civilians face imminent starvation, LTTE urges IC to act
[TamilNet, Friday, 24 April 2009, 23:52 GMT]
In a press statement titled 'UN and IC Need to Act Faster to Prevent Hunger' the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam Friday said 165,000 Tamil civilians belonging to 40,000 families within the LTTE controlled area in Mullaiththeevu coast are faced with serious crisis due to the deliberate denial of food and other humanitarian supplies by the Sri Lankan Government. "The LTTE urges the UN and other members of the international community to act promptly to ensure immediate and continuous supply of food to these people. We fear that further delay can result in a crisis similar to that faced in Darfur or even deadlier," the statement released from Vanni said.
Full text of the statement follows:
24th April 2009UN and IC Need to Act Faster to Prevent Hunger
The civilian population in the LTTE controlled Mullitivu coastal areas are faced with serious crisis due to the deliberate denial of food and other humanitarian supplies by the Sri Lankan Government. The dwindling stocks coupled with the deliberate withholding of fresh supplies has made starvation imminent over 165 000 civilians belonging to 40, 000 families now living in this area. Food supplies have been withheld since 2nd April, local authorities have been seeking dry rations since 11th April in an attempt to minimize the spectre of starvation that looms ahead. According to the District Secretariat for the month of March just 1050 Metric Tons of food was received whereas the minimum requires was 4950 MT.
In addition to preventing international humanitarian agencies into the Vanni region, the World food organization has been purposely delayed and frequently denied access, since the escalation of this phase of offensive operation by the Sri Lankan armed forces. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government has continued to deny access to international media to report on the humanitarian catastrophy that is unfolding.
In the last few months, the Sri Lankan regime has blocked the food supplies through land and sea. The supply routes have been deliberately targeted by artillery and mortars. The occupation of Puthukdiyerupu and surrounding areas has made impossible food supplies by land. Delivery by sea the only option for supplies to the people living in the LTTE controlled areas.
This systematic and deliberate denial of food, medicine and other medical supplies in serious breach to the international humanitarian law is a war crime and falls within the international crime of genocide.
The LTTE urges the UN and other members of the international community to act promptly to ensure immediate and continuous supply of food to these people. We fear that further delay can result in a crisis similar to that faced in Darfur or even deadlier.
The LTTE welcomes the announcement of the UNSG on sending humanitarian monitoring team to this part of the Island. We are prepared to engage in a constructive dialogue to address the humanitarian crisis in Vanni.
Political Head Quarters
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam