Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Govt. committed to resettle all IDPs as early as possible

With the experience gained in resettling 187,000 IDPs in the Eastern Province in the post - conflict period, the government is confident of resettling nearly 200,000 IDPs now living in welfare centers in the Wanni as early as possible. The government is committed comprehensively to ensure the well - being of the civilians who have been evacuated, said Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights addressing a media briefing at the Presidential Secretariat today(24).

The total figure of IDPs as of today is 193,960. Last four days, 105,274 civilians have escaped the no fire zone. 75% of them have been handed over to the Government Agents. 10,880 have been evacuated by the ICRC, Out of them, 4,736 are patients, and 6,144 bystanders. There are 20 sites operating in Vavuniya, 17 sites in Jaffna and 03 in Mannar, the Hon. Minister added.

The government has requested United Nations Agencies, UNCHR the UNICEF NGOs and INGOs to provide tents to provide shelter to IDPs Mr. Basil Rajapakse, Senior Presidential Advisor too has made arrangements with authorities in Dubai and Jordan to provide tents.

Steps are being taken to provide education for the children of IDPs. Their basic health needs, and drinking water are provided to ensure sanitation. The government has requested the FAO to add variety to the conventional food parcel, the Hon. Minister said.

In view of the exodus of IDPs, the critical need in this crucial hour is to provide emergency aid to IDPs.

The government will not only resettle the IDPs as in the post - conflict eastern province, but restore their livelihoods, too Relief is forth coming via several channels in response to government appeals. United Nations have requested member countries to donate funds UK, Netherlands, Germany etc have provided aid directly. In addition, NGOs contribute significantly to relief operations. Meanwhile, the Treasury has allocated massive funds for the well - being of the IDPs, the Hon. Ministers revealed.

Today, the Army is playing the role of benefactor to IDPs. They care for the sick and look after the kids. The Army is acting in the best traditions of a disciplined force. We appreciate their professionalism and respect them for the on - going humanitarian mission of caring for the displaced civilians.

The officers and the rank and file of the Security Forces are educated in Human Rights as enshrined in UN Conventions and Treaties which Sri Lanka has endorsed, when ever participating in international symposia, he requests his counterparts to explore the possibility of exposing the members of Security Forces to human rights awareness programs, the Hon. Minister said.

Dr. Palitha Kohona, Foreign Secretary said the Security Forces are strictly instructed to avoid civilian casualties Presently, Security Forces have stopped using heavy weapons but only use small arms. Some of them who are hurt among the IDPs may be combatants, Dr. Kohona revealed. The combatants who have surrendered will be rehabilitated and trained in vocations. All combatants are Sri Lankan citizens Dr. Kohona asserted.

Dr. Ishwara Kottegoda, Coordinator, Ministry of Health, Disaster Preparedness and Response Unitelaborated on the health facilities provided to IDPs. Padaviya hospital will be developed to accommodate more patients. A health Centre to cater to 10,000 IDPs has been set up. There are 40 doctors attached to welfare centers and 50 more will join them shortly.

Courtesy: MCNS

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