MoD blocks UNHCR office

[TamilNet, Sunday, 01 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Moves by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to build a new office, 4 km east of Mallavi, are being stalled by officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), said UNHCR sources in Vavuniya. The MoD is delaying approval for building materials to be transported to Mallavi for construction work to begin.

At present, the UNHCR office in the area is situated at Vadakaadu. Vadakaadu is about 12 kilometers north west of Mankulam.

The move to shift the office has been prompted by the SLA troops of Jayasikurui shelling areas around UNHCR office from their positions south east.

Though there has not been any damage to the office at Vadakaadu yet, UNHCR officials believe that it is not safe for them to operate from there.

It is believed that the MOD is delaying the approval through reluctance to permit the transport of cement to the Vanni. Meanwhile, the UNHCR is to build a new office in Palampiddy km of Mannar.

The UNHCR operates two open relief centres - in Madu and Palampitty - in the Mannar region. These moves are part of the UNHCR's preparation for a new wave of refugees from Madu in the near future as a result of the on-going Operation Jayasikurui in the Vanni.


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