ICRC evacuates 161
persons from Jaffna peninsula
[Monday, August 28, 2006 - 8.45 GMT]
More than 150 persons evacuated from the
Jaffna peninsula by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
have arrived in the capital, Colombo. They were among 161 persons who
had traveled overnight from Jaffna to the eastern port of Trincomalee
onboard a passenger ship flying the ICRC flag. Recent fighting has cut
off the peninsula from the rest of Sri Lanka.
According to an ICRC media release, the sea journey and the subsequent
bus trip from Trincomalee to Colombo passed off without any incidents.
ICRC personnel accompanied the evacuees throughout their journey. The
majority of them are foreign nationals including some staff of relief
organisations. The passengers also included three persons requiring
medical care. The list of persons evacuated from Jaffna was established
by the local authorities there.
"This operation emphasizes the importance of having a strictly
humanitarian, neutral intermediary like the ICRC working in Sri Lanka,"
said Peter Krakolinig, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in
Colombo. "It was possible because the parties to the conflict gave us
the necessary security guarantees. We are in touch with both sides to
discuss carrying out further evacuations from the Jaffna peninsula in
the near future.
“Meanwhile, the unloading of a cargo ship flying the ICRC flag continues
in Point Pedro on the Jaffna peninsula. The vessel is carrying 1,500
tonnes of food and medicine provided by the government and the World
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Date: August 28, 2006 -8.45 GMT