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Sri Lanka: UN Agency Negotiates To Bring In Food

Sri Lanka: UN Agency Negotiates With Government To Bring In Food To Blockaded Area

New York, Oct 3 2006 4:00PM

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has been in constant negotiation with the Sri Lankan Government in a bid to bring in urgently needed food for more than 60,000 displaced people blockaded in areas controlled by rebel Tamil separatists.

The Agency is particularly concerned about the very short supply of food in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi area of northern Sri Lanka, where escalating violence between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Government forces has driven 63,000 people, nearly half of them children, into camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and cut off food supplies, spokesman Simon Pluess told a news briefing in Geneva today.

As a result of the negotiations, 30 trucks with 500 tons of food have been dispatched to the area, and last Saturday 19 of them crossed over into Vanni, a Tamil Tiger-controlled area, he said.

Overall, WFP is currently distributing food aid to some 150,000 internally displaced persons in districts affected by the conflict, including Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.

Mr. Pluess said a high-level meeting would take place on Friday between the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and the Government to discuss the issue of humanitarian access.

Ends

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