ICRC outlines war zone activities
[TamilNet, Sunday, 21 January 2001, 19:49 GMT]
The International Committee of the Red Cross transported 3807 patients by ship from Jaffna to Trincomalee and took 1061.89 metric tons of drugs and postal bags to the northern peninsula in 2000, according to the annual report of the humanitarian organisation. Two ships, the Java Gulf and the Java Gold, ply between Jaffna and Trincomalee under the ICRC flag, sustaining a lifeline to the debilitated and chronically ill supplied health service in the war torn peninsula. Briefing journalists in Batticaloa Sunday, the ICRC's press officer, Mr. Harasha Gunawardana, said that his organisation had transferred the bodies of 270 Liberation Tigers and those of 209 Sri Lanka army soldiers killed in the war during 2000.
He said that the ICRC transferred the bodies of 186 soldiers in April-May 2000. From September 2000, the bodies of 247 LTTE fighters have been transferred so far according to him. Of this 41 were transferred this month and 78 in September 2000.
The ICRC transferred the bodies of 61 LTTE fighters in the Batticaloa district last year.
The ICRC press officer said that the passenger ship, City of Trinco, will restart service between Trincomalee and Jaffna next week.
Mr. Gunawardana clarified that the ICRC only escorts the passenger vessel and is not responsible for determining the fare or for issuing tickets.
Many passengers to Jaffna go to the ICRC delegations in Trincomalee and the north, believing that the organisation is in charge of ticketing and other services related to the passenger service. The Sri Lankan government recently hiked up the passenger ship fare to the north.