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DateLine Wednesday, 18 February 2009

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Government Gazette

Mullaithivu civilians:

Relief by sea

*No food shortage in Mullaitivu

*Mobile school for displaced children

The Government yesterday dispatched 40 metric tons of essential relief items to the trapped civilians in Mullaitivu on the direction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The consignment was dispatched through the sea route.

Addressing the media yesterday at the Information Department, Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishard Bathiudeen said a meeting was held at the Presidential Secretariat presided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and attended by Senior Presidential Advisor MP Basil Rajapaksa to decide on relief supplies to the stranded civilians in Mullaitivu.

As a result of the meeting 40 mt of essential food items were released to the trapped civilians in Mullaitivu.

“Following a prompt directive by President Rajapaksa, a vessel carrying 40 metric tons of essential food items for trapped civilians in Mullaitivu left the Trincomalee harbour today.” This is the first time relief items were ferried to Mullaitivu via the sea,” he added.

He observed the decision to transport food items via sea was due to the security factors.

Relief items were transported over land routes in the past but the situation has changed.

The LTTE has placed land mines and booby traps on these land routes and it is unsafe to take the land routes for the time being.

“Under the present circumstances it was decided to send the relief items to Mullaitivu by sea,” he said.

Minister Bathiudeen reiterated that strengthening the health sector also was part of the discussion. A medical team deployed from the south is assisting the medical officials in Mullaitivu.

“We sent medicine on the request of the medical officials in the Mullaitivu. We also invite the doctors who wish to serve in the conflict area to avail of their service.

The vessel ferrying essential food items on return will bring the sick and the wounded civilians.

He said over 30,000 civilians fleeing from the LTTE who arrived in the safe zone had been resettled at 13 IDP centres in Vavuniya. “The Government is always looking after their grievances and attending to all shortcomings.”

Minister Bathiudeen noted that a mobile school is to be established at the IDP centre to continue education of 1,200 students of the College of Education. There are 35 teachers among the displaced civilians.

Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Bathiudeen, Sabaragamuwa Province Chief Minister Mahipala Herath, Essential Services Commissioner S. P. Divaratne, High Command of Security personnel and the ICRC representative participated at the discussion held at the President’s Secretariat.



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LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka

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