By Arthur Wamanan
UN Under Secretary General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency
Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes has
called upon both the government and the
LTTE to avoid bloodbath as clashes in
the north intensify.
Holmes made this call at a press
briefing yesterday at the Government
Holmes called upon
both parties to ensure the safety of the
civilians in the LTTE controlled areas
and that there is a significant number
of civilian casualties reported.
He called upon both
parties to do ‘everything possible’ to
avoid civilian casualties during the
ongoing military operations.
"I fear that there
are a significant number of civilians
killed or injured. It is hard to say who
is responsible for these," Holmes said.
Human Rights and
Disaster Management Minister Mahinda
Samarasinghe who was also at the press
briefing stated that the government had
assured Holmes that civilian lives will
not be compromised during the military
operations carried out in the Wanni.
While welcoming the
government’s efforts to send essential
goods to LTTE controlled areas by sea,
Holmes said the government should step
up arrangements for more supplies to be
transported to the region.
He also said the
state should take steps to improve the
screening techniques used at the
crossover points in order to increase
confidence of the people who flee the
said the ICRC and the UN monitors were
already present in the Omanthai
crossover point, monitoring the
Holmes also noted
that there was a certain amount of fear
among the people in IDP camps and added
that the government should take
immediate measures to provide them with
temporary ID cards. Holmes also said the
government should also take immediate
steps to unite the IDPs with their
that there were practical problems in
registering persons, as there were LTTE
cadres who had infiltrated into IDP
"There are 250
persons who had identified themselves as
LTTE cadres. They are now at
rehabilitation centres and are being
carefully watched. There may be some
others as well," Samarasinghe said.
Holmes met with
President Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday
and discussed the current issues in the
country. Rajapakse had also assured that
the civilian lives will be protected
during military operations.
The UN also granted
US$ 10 million for the emergency needs
of the population. The UN had earlier
said that it needed US$ 155 million to
carry out 103 projects in the north and
east for this year.