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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2613

Sri Lanka: European Commission provides emergency assistance to the displaced holed up in Vaharai

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 11 January, (Asiantribune.com): There is a humanitarian crisis is looming in Vaharai, located in the restive East. Food stocks are very low. Access remains very difficult.

While a reported 15,000 people remain in Vaharai, over 20,000 have already fled the conflict region and are being supported by the partner agencies of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) through a wide range of humanitarian interventions—emergency shelter, food and basic non-food relief items, camp management, psychosocial support, water and sanitation.

Commenting on the swift response of the European Commission implementing partners, the Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Sri Lanka, Mr. Julian Wilson, said: "The crisis in Vaharai continues to cause great suffering to innocent civilians. The European Commission’s Humanitarian Organization has directed funds to provide supplies and other help to these civilians.

"This support is being directed through very experienced and professional agencies who have a long experience in the conflict affected areas of Sri Lanka, such as ICRC, NRC, ZOA, ACTED, DRC, IOM, UNHCR, and WFP. Their tireless efforts have ensured that some support has reached these most vulnerable groups, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation. But it is essential that greater access is provided and that the conflict ceases if these innocent civilians are to be helped effectively."

Regular and ongoing distributions by ECHO’s partners over the last two months have provided several thousand kilograms of staple foods such as rice, dhal, bread, bananas and milk powder and a varieties of non-food relief items such as mosquito repellent coils, mosquito nets, candles, matches, buckets, kitchen utensils, clothes and more, to help alleviate the suffering of these vulnerable populations from Vaharai. Complementing the food and NFRI distribution the following activities are also being implemented: setting up of IDP sites, construction of semi permanent shelters, emergency latrines, wells, provision of electricity, access roads and psychosocial support activities.

“As in previous disasters and emergencies in Sri Lanka, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), active in Sri Lanka since 1994, has supported affected communities through its professional, high quality and impartial partner organizations, consisting of NGOs, UN agencies and the Red Cross family. These capable organizations work in close coordination with the Government of Sri Lanka and the local authorities, as well as the other agencies active in the area.” said David Verboom, Head of the European Commission Humanitarian Office in Colombo.

- Asian Tribune -

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