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UN Food Convoy Reaches Sri Lankan Conflict Zone

UN food convoy successfully reaches conflict zone in Sri Lanka

17 October 2008 – A major United Nations food convoy arrived today in northern Sri Lanka to assist over 200,000 displaced persons after being forced to turn back yesterday due to fresh fighting in the area between Government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The 50-truck World Food Programme (WFP) fleet re-entered the region known as the Vanni following the UN receiving renewed assurances this morning from both parties to the conflict that the convoy would be able to proceed safely.

Carrying 750 tons of food for the estimated 230,000 civilians displaced behind the lines of confrontation in the districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, this is the second convoy in as many weeks and part of an ongoing UN effort to supply humanitarian aid to civilians moving to avoid fighting.

Intensified clashes between the military and LTTE members have in recent weeks forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes and sparked warnings from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN
In the northern town of Anuradhapura earlier this month at least 27 people were killed and many more wounded in a suicide bomb attack on the office of one of Sri Lanka's opposition parties.

The UN today reiterated its full commitment to assisting the Sri Lankan Government with efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and those trapped in the conflict zones.

ENDS

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