Government sends food supplies to no fire zone via sea route
Minister Mahinda Samarsingha at the
Lanka's government has decided to send food and medical supplies to the
civilians held hostage by the LTTE terrorists in the Mullaittivu
district today (Feb 17).
Commissioner of General for Essential Services, Mr. S.
Divaratna speaking at the weekly media briefing about humanitarian
situation in the Wanni, held at the Presidential Secretariat this
evening, said that the tug with the first consignment of food items will
leave Trincomalee harbour probably in the midnight.
He said that the decision has been arrived during a
meeting held this morning on a proposal made by His Excellency Mahinda
Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka to send food supplies to the IDPs in
Mullaittivu via sea route.
Consequently, his office has requested the Sri Lanka
Ports Authority to allocate two tugs that can carry 50 MT at time, to
transport food items mainly and medical supplies to Mullaittivu from
Trincomalee. In addition, MV Green Ocean, the passenger ferry allocated
to the ICRC by the government will be utilized for sending 150 MT of
food items on its each return trip from Trincomalee. The ICRC has been
using the passenger ferry to transport sick and wounded civilians from
Mullaittivu to the Trincomalee government hospital since last week. The
ICRC has agreed to sail the tugs and the passenger ferry with the food
consignment under its flag.
"We are sending nearly 50 MT of flour, dhal, milk
food, and sugar plus medicine provided by the Ministry of Health with
the first consignment ... the operations will be continued ... the
second consignment is scheduled be sent on 19th this month", Mr
He further went on to explain that the government has
not been able to send food consignments to Mullaittivu since 29th
January 2009 as the security situation did not permit safe passage to
the food convoys. However he said that, he has so far received no
reports on any acute food shortage in the Mullaittivu district from the
Government Agents since the government had already sent about 600 MT
tons of food in the last convoy.
"600 MT are sufficient for two weeks. Also, we have
maintained a buffer stock there ...still we have to find an alternative
route to provide food for the IDPs since the road transportation is
The Commissioner General emphasized that these food
are sent by the government, by the government means and the process will be
continued until the road access is made possible to the no fire zone.
Once the food supplies reach Mullaittivu, the
government agents are to take over the consignment and to distribute it
among the IDPs through cooperative societies.
Minster of Human Rights and Disaster Management, Hon
Mahinda Samarasigha who was presiding the meeting added his comments
saying that he is very grateful to the ICRC for the great service it
renders to the Sri Lankan citizens. Further, he highlighted the silent
role played by the government in the effort by providing the valuable
resources including the passenger ferry to the ICRC.
Prof Rajiv Wejesinha , Secretary to the Human Rights
Ministry , joining the discussion said this cooperation between the
government and the ICRC has not been sufficiently acknowledged. As a
result, Prof Wijesinha pointed out that certain statements made by the
ICRC have been misunderstood and misrepresented internationally that
they were against the government.
"I think the ICRC too has identified this ... just
look at the last three statement made by the ICRC about the
transportation of patients last week... the first had no mention of Sri
Lankan Government, the second says that they are transporting the
patients to the Trincomalee government hospital as an assistance to the
Sri Lankan government... and for the first time they (ICRC officials)
have made it crystal clear... they have acknowledged , that it is the
government that provide the medical assistance ... the third one which I
say ... even more inclined... .Now, they have recognized this and given
credit to the where it is due... for what we have been always doing"
Secretary to the President, Mr. Lalith Weeratunga,
Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Palitha Kohona , and
Military Spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara also joined the
discussion to clarify various issues raised by the journalists
participating the briefing.
supplies being loaded at the Trincomalee harbour -17 Feb
Government officials inspecting the loading of the first
consignment of food at the Trincomalee port
journalists are briefed twice a week on the latest
humanitarian situation in the North at Presidential