EU to provide $4 mn for relief operations in Sri Lanka

March 19th, 2009 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, March 19 (IANS) The European Union (EU) will give three million euros (about $4 million) to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for relief operations in northern Sri Lanka, EuAsiaNews reported Thursday.
“I am appalled by the humanitarian catastrophe in the north of Sri Lanka. Thousands of civilians trapped in the conflict zone have died and more are dying every day, not only from repeated shelling but also from lack of food, water and medical care,” EU’s Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel said in a statement.

“Only minimal humanitarian assistance is being allowed into the area,” he added.

The ICRC is the only international humanitarian organisation allowed into the conflict zone.

Michel strongly urged the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to take immediate steps to prevent further bloodshed and suffering among the civilian population.

“The government must face its obligations to protect all its citizens by stopping the indiscriminate shelling so that adequate food and medicines can be brought into the area and sick and wounded people can leave.”

He also condemned the LTTE’s use of violence and intimidation to prevent civilians from leaving the conflict area.

In the past five years, the European Commission, executive body of the EU, has given a total of 95 million euros in aid for the victims of humanitarian crises in Sri Lanka.

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