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Humanitarian aid from India reaches Lanka

November 16, 2008 21:30 IST

A consignment of 1700 tonnes of food and relief material from India reached Colombo as part of humanitarian aid for thousands of civilian Tamils caught in the war between the LTTE [Images] and the island nation's Army, officials said on Sunday.

Sri Lankan army inches closer to Prabhakaran

"The relief material has to undergo customs and other formalities, after which it will be handed to International Red Cross Committee for distribution among civilians hit by the ongoing conflict in the North," officials told PTI.

The Indian humanitarian assistance is the first of its kind in nearly two decades, though New Delhi [Images] provided medical and other assistance to Sri Lanka [Images] after the 2004 devastating tsunami that killed thousands of people.

'If Prabhakaran surrenders, Tamil suffering will end'

The aid comes as international agencies grapple to provide food an estimated two lakh Tamil civilians who are displaced due to the offensive against LTTE by the Lankan Army.

Sri Lanka had earlier accepted India's offer to send relief material to the affected civilians in the north of the island during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Basil Rajapaksa, Special Adviser to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in October.

'Separating Tamil people and LTTE is foolish'

It was also decided at that time that the Tamil Nadu government will also mobilise relief material to the affected civilians.

The worst hit is Kilinochchi, where the Sri Lankan troops have reportedly captured several areas in the LTTE stronghold leaving hundreds of civilians displaced.

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