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* ICRC and Sri Lanka Red Cross Society pledge massive humanitarian assistance to IDPs
Sunday, March 15, 2009, 3:25 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 15, Colombo: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society met yesterday with the Sri Lanka Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services, Mahinda Samarasinghe to present a pledge concerning the response of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to the massive and urgent humanitarian needs of people displaced from the Vanni in Northern Sri Lanka.

In a statement the ICRC said that over 36,000 people have left the conflict zone since December 2008 and are living at sites in Mannar, Vavuniya, and Jaffna districts.

"All possible measures must be taken to ensure that these people are received in a safe environment, under adequate conditions of shelter, hygiene, health and nutrition. They must also be allowed to return voluntarily to their homes as soon as conditions permit," ICRC said.

"In the process of displacement, many families have become separated or have lost contact with relatives in other parts of the country, or abroad," ICRC added. The Movement has offered to help them reestablish contact and reunite.

At the meeting with the Minister, the Movement also offered to improve access to medical care by upgrading existing health infrastructure, providing first-aid services and mobile medical clinics, running an ambulance service and engaging in physical and psycho-social rehabilitation.

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