Over 200,000 Wanni civilians at risk
By Amantha Perera and Arthur Wamanan
Over 200,000 civilians were at risk and in
need of assistance in the Wanni, latest UN
humanitarian reports warned last week, while
UN and government officials were getting
ready to move the first supply convoy into
the Wanni since September 16.
"An estimated 200,000 people are at risk in
the Wanni and will need more assistance,"
the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
an umbrella body of UN and other
international relief agencies said last
Most of the between 200,000 to 230,000
displaced were staying along the Paranthan
Mulaithivu Road north east of Kilinochchi.
"People are still moving towards Mulaithivu
due to the fear of shelling and aerial
attacks," the report said.
The first convoy of supplies since the
relocation will travel to the Wanni in the
coming days, government officials in
Kilinochchi said. "We have planned to send
60 lorries of essential items in one
instance during this week. These goods will
be for both Kilinochchi and Mulaithivu
Districts. We have not planned on a specific
date to send the goods. But, definitely this
week," Kilinochchi Government Agent,
Nagalingam Vedanayagam told The Sunday
The convoy will however not travel to
Kilinochchi but circumvent the besieged town
and take the Mankulam-Mulaithivu highway
that heads east of Kilinochchi.
"The route to send these goods has changed.
We will be sending the goods through the
and then to Killinochchi via
Paranthan-Mulaithivu Road." Vedanayagam
The convoy is likely to fly the UN flag and
UN officials will travel with it. The
supplies are also likely to be distributed
straight to the displaced without keeping
them at storehouses. The UN staff travelling
with the convoy will remain in the Wanni
till the distribution is completed.
Last week the Tokyo Donor Co-Chairs
emphasised that supplies to civilians should
be continued uninterrupted and also spoke of
the importance of the humanitarian agencies
including the UN.
"The government, especially as a democratic
government, as it moves forward militarily,
needs to pay special attention to the
protection of human rights of the citizens
in the areas that they take over, special
attention as they proceed with the fighting
to respect the civilian population, and also
to work with the international organisations,
the United Nations especially, to make sure
that the humanitarian assistance that these
people need is provided in a smooth
fashion," US Assistant Secretary of State
for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard
Boucher said after the September 24 meeting.
Boucher also said that they expressed their
concerns over the civilians publicly so that
both parties would be aware of them.
"One of the reasons for making the
humanitarian concerns public is so that the
Tigers get the message, as well as the
people on the government side," it was said.
Tiger leader like a
'caged animal' says army chief
Kilinochchi to feel full force of govt.
Kilinochchi town will come under government
fire in the next few days, Army Commander
Lt. General Sarath Fonseka said last week.
"The army will fire its first rounds towards
Kilinochchi town by next week, as troops are
some four kilometers away from Kilinochchi,"
said Lt. General Fonseka; "we can even see
some of the buildings in the town."
The Defence Ministry on Friday said that
troops of the 57th Division were gradually
advancing into Kokkavil that lies south of
The Army Chief made these comments during a
book launch held at the National Library and
Documentation Services Board last Thursday.
He added that the war had not spread to
Colombo and that the troops have been
successful in limiting Tiger activities.
"They even said that the Eelam war-IV would
come to Colombo. But now we can see our
forces taking the war to Kilinochchi and now
the LTTE Leader is like a caged animal," he
Speaking at the occasion, Air Force
Commander Roshan Goonetilake had said, that
the Air Force was continuing to track down
the Tiger leader based on intelligence
information. "We are getting intelligence
and information about the whereabouts of
Pirapaharan; we will continue with our
raids, targeting those hideouts," he said.
Concern over possible
purchase of equipment
City hotels to beef up security
By Arthur Wamanan
Hoteliers last week voiced concern over a
Defence Ministry initiative to beef up
security in hotels, which may entail the
purchase by the hotels of expensive new
If the burden of purchasing new equipment is
passed on to the hotels some hoteliers said
it would mean the hotels will be further
financially burdened during a severe slump
in business due to the war.
Last Wednesday however Tourism Ministry
officials said no decisions have been made
yet on this issue and on who would purchase
such equipment if any.
Hoteliers were summoned to a meeting chaired
by Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda at
which Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse,
Chairman Institute of Tourism and Hotel
Management and Defence and Tourism Ministry
officials were present.
The City Hotels Security Advisory Committee
(CHSAC) has been appointed by the Tourism
Minister under the chairmanship of Sri
Lanka's former Ambassador to Washington
Bernard Goonetilleke to oversee the first
stage of securing the city hotels.
Goonetilleke told The Sunday Leader the
security project for the city hotels
predates the massive bomb that ripped
through the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad last
week but the incident has not gone unnoticed
by his committee.
The initial meeting on Wednesday was to
assess the security set up at each hotel and
then come up with minimum standards that
should be implemented depending on each
hotel and its location.
When asked how the hotels already hit by the
war would face additional costs in the form
of state of the art equipment such as
baggage scanners President, Tourist Hotels
Association (THA), S. Mittapala told The
Sunday Leader that the hotels would face
difficulties in purchasing items such as
"We understand the need for enhanced
security. But, the hoteliers would face
difficulties in purchasing these expensive
items on their own," he said. Mittapala
added that discussions were on with the
Tourism Ministry with regard to this issue
and the assistance of the Ministry had been
sought in enhancing the security of the
Chairman Goonetilleke told The Sunday Leader
that the committee would be meeting top
officials of the hotels to discuss the
enhancing of the security in the hotels .
"Hotels already have their own security
systems. The committee would meet the hotel
officials individually and hold
discussions," he said. He however added that
the committee had not discussed the
feasibility in purchasing the equipment
needed to enhance the security in the
"We will cross the bridge when we come to
it. At the moment we are only discussing on
the security systems what the hotels have in
place and what is needed additionally,"