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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2792

UN Allocates $10 Million To Help Thousands Caught Up In Sri Lankan Conflict

United Nations, 22 February, ( With thousands of Sri Lankans continuing to stream out of the northern Vanni region of the country, where Government forces are in the midst of a fierce armed offensive against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the United Nations emergency relief fund has targeted $10 million to assist civilians caught up in the conflict, the world body announced on Saturday.

"This contribution is a clear demonstration of the United Nations' commitment to meeting the urgent needs of the people affected by the conflict," said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes.

Ongoing fighting, which has intensified since December, has trapped some 250,000 civilians in the battle zone, and the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation has led to a large number of people taking the risk of escaping the fighting, with more than 30,000 already seeking shelter in and around the town of Vavuniya alone, and many more are expected to arrive in the coming days and weeks.

"I hope that donors will provide more support in other priority areas in the coming days, especially as humanitarian needs are so significant," added Holmes at the end of his three-day visit to Sri Lanka to assess the condition of people who have recently fled the conflict.

The largest portion of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), some $3.1 million, will go to the World Food Programme (WFP), to feed civilians uprooted by the fighting, as well as those who are still pinned down in the north. The World Health Organization (WHO) will also receive roughly $1.2 million to provide basic life-saving care.

A further $1.1 million will be provided to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to boost their operations protecting civilians in the area, including efforts to curb the recruitment of child combatants.

UNHCR will receive another $1.8 million from the CERF to help it set up emergency shelters with its partners, UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In addition, the $1.9 million allocated to UNICEF will allow for the construction of emergency latrines, and the supply of clean water in the camps. CERF has also provided UNICEF with $385,000 for a programme which makes available emergency nutritional assistance and another $475,000 for temporary learning centers.

- Asian Tribune -

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