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Displaced People: Vakarai

Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to ensure that food, fuel and medical supplies organised by the United Nations reaches displaced Sri Lankans in the Vakarai area. (104805)

The UK is in regular contact with the Sri Lankan Government, the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN agencies about the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka.

The UK Government have expressed serious concerns over the humanitarian situation in Vakarai and other conflict affected areas of the country and the need for all parties to the conflict to ensure regular and sustained access for humanitarian deliveries. We fully support the statement by the co-chairs of the peace process (EU, Japan, Norway, US) that there should be an immediate, permanent and unconditional opening of routes for humanitarian convoys of essential supplies.

We welcome the announcement that a convoy of food stuffs and other supplies had reached the Vakarai area on 29 November. However not all the vehicles in the original convoy were allowed to enter the area and this convoy was the first for several weeks. Much more needs to be done.