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UN assures help for Wanni civilians

UN: The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Sri Lanka yesterday announced that the UN remains fully committed to assisting the Government in its efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to those civilians who remain in the Wanni and to those civilians who leave the Wanni, a news release issued by the UN office of the Resident Humanitarian Coordinator for Sri Lanka said yesterday.

While reiterating its commitment to assisting the Government in its effort to provide humanitarian assistance the UN office also states that it has raised with the LTTE its urgent concern that civilians be allowed maximum freedom of movement at all times.

The Sri Lanka office of the UN came out with this statement a day after the Government announced comprehensive plans to open a humanitarian corridor to help civilians trapped in the Wanni to move from uncleared areas to Vavuniya for their safety and also to assist the civilians in Wanni by sending them essential food items with the assistance of the WFP.

“The UN remains fully committed to assisting the Government in its effort to provide humanitarian assistance to those who remain in Wanni and to those civilians who leave the Wanni. Measures must be taken to prevent displacing people from their homes and livelihood,” the statement issued by the UN office in Sri Lanka said.

It further said the UN in Sri Lanka acknowledges the announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka of additional measures that are intended to facilitate the freedom of movement of civilians who had been affected by fighting in the Wanni.

Measures that comply with international obligations governing the protection of civilians during the armed conflict provide vital options for civilians as they make individual choices about where to seek safety and succor, the statement further added. The Government raised its concern about the humanitarian crisis looming in the Wanni with the LTTE restricting the freedom of movement of the civilians entrapped there, with the announcement of an humanitarian corridor opened for the civilians to flee the area.

According to Wanni sources more than 30,000 displaced civilians and more than 200,000 civilian population is now entrapped in the Wanni without access to cleared areas due to restrictions imposed on their movements by the LTTE.

The latest information indicates that thousands of civilians have been pushed to Iranamadu area close to Kilinochchi by the LTTE with the intention of creating a human shield to prevent retaliatory attacks of the Security Forces.

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