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Sri Lanka: Overseas Aid

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department is providing to the Mercy Mission to Vanni. (276054)

I have been asked to reply.

We are aware of reports of a humanitarian relief convoy seeking to take humanitarian supplies to northern Sri Lanka by ship, organised by the British Tamil community and supported by many MPs. It is a clear demonstration of the public's concern for the civilians in Sri Lanka. The organisers must ensure that the appropriate approvals from the relevant UK and Sri Lankan authorities are in place. We have consistently advised those who wish to provide assistance to channel their efforts through aid agencies already on the ground.

On 17 May 2009, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced a further £5 million of humanitarian assistance for the civilians affected by the conflict in Sri Lanka. This takes the total to £12.5 million since October 2008.