India to distribute relief through Red Cross

November 9th, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Nov 9 (IANS) The Indian High Commission here is working out the modalities to distribute relief supplies from Tamil Nadu to war-hit civilians in the island’s north through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), officials said Sunday.According to Indian diplomatic sources, the first shipment carrying 1,000 tonnes of relief assistance is expected to arrive in Colombo this week.

“These items would be distributed primarily through the ICRC with the concurrence of the government of Sri Lanka,” an Indian diplomat told IANS.

Official sources said that on India’s invitation, an ICRC official visited Tamil Nadu to know more about the proposed relief donation such as “the quality, composition, packaging and so on”.

ICRC Information Officer Sarasi Wijeratne said the ICRC found the relief donation suitable to the needy people in the north and “was good in quality corresponding to the international standards”.

“The Indian relief donation coming to Colombo will be handed over to the ICRC by the Indian High Commission. We have not set a date for it right now,” Wijeratne said.

Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad last week attended a meeting held by senior presidential advisor Basil Rajapaksa and discussed the modalities of the relief distribution.

The agreement to send Indian food and relief material to the north was reached Oct 26 during Rajapaksa’s visit to New Delhi.

According to the UN, about 230,000 people have been displaced due to fighting between troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has transported food stocks and essential items on four occasions to the Wanni since last month.

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