ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 24

UN paves way for food supplies to Jaffna

By Chris Kamalendran

With the food crisis in the Jaffna peninsula persisiting, a United Nations’ team has visited the northern capital to work out arrangements to send food supplies under the UN flag, Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told The Sunday Times.

The four-member team checked on facilities at Kankesanthurai and Point Pedro harbours on Friday and met Jaffna Government Agent K. Ganesh.

Mr. Samarasinghe said the four officials of the UN’s World Food Programme had held talks in Colombo with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Peace Secretariat Chief Palitha Kohona to discuss arrangements for food supplies.

The Minister said the UN food supplies to the north would be in addition to the stocks sent by the government.

The move came as the Indian government was also preparing to send 6,000 metric tons of food and medicine to the Jaffna peninsula by a chartered vessel.

“We are working out the logistics to send the supplies. The items will be sent by a chartered vessel,” a spokesperson for the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

The items are being sent free of charge.

The international support to send food supplies to the Jaffna peninsula comes following a request from the government which has sought world assistance to overcome the food crisis in the Jaffna peninsula. Food distribution to the peninsula was affected following the closure of the A9 road.

The JVP on Monday issued a strong statement objecting to the involvement of the UN in sending food supplies to Jaffna under the UN flag.

“By using the UN flag to distribute food to the North, the government would display to the whole world that it is not even capable of distributing food to the north”, JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said in a statement.

The government has not been able to send sufficient food supplies to Jaffna keeping with the requirements of the Government Agent mainly due to the non-availability of ships.

On Friday, the unloading of food by two of the ships anchored at Point Pedro was suspended following the LTTE attack on two naval craft.

Meanwhile, the transportation of passengers to Jaffna from Trincomalee has been suspended with immediate effect following Thursday’s sea battle.

Top to the page

Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.