Government of Canada

Global Affairs Canada

www.international.gc.ca

Canada Increases Humanitarian Aid to Sri Lanka

May 4, 2009

COLOMBO (Sri Lanka)—At the conclusion of her visit to Sri Lanka, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced today an increase in critical humanitarian aid to assist the civilians displaced by the ongoing civil war in the country.

"This tragic situation for the civilians is of grave concern and our government is responding to the increasing need for assistance," stated Minister Oda. "This additional funding will provide essential food, water, shelter and medical care to the displaced populations. We are strongly urging all parties to immediately cease fire and facilitate access for humanitarian workers to give the urgently needed assistance."

"Canada continues to call for a new and meaningful political solution to the conflict, that will address the legitimate grievances of all communities involved in the conflict." added Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Lawrence Cannon.

The Government of Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will provide additional funding to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, the World Food Programme and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. This $3 million support is in addition to Canada's pledge of $1.5 million on February 23, 2009, and $3 million pledged on February 4, 2009. This brings Canada's assistance to Sri Lankan civilians to $ 7.5 million this year.

For over two decades a civil war has raged in Sri Lanka between the Sinhalese-majority Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The United Nations estimates that the total number of people who have fled the no-fire zone has risen to over 160,000, that up to 50,000 have fled since April 20, and that 50,000-60,000 civilians remain in the conflict zone.

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Information:

Michelle Coates
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
E-mail: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca