UN seeks greater humanitarian access for Sri Lanka

The UN commends Lankan govt on its post-war relief and reconstruction work.

Colombo: A top United Nations official on Friday called for greater humanitarian access to war victims in Sri Lanka.

Catherine Bragg, the UN`s deputy emergency relief coordinator, raised the issue with Sri Lankan government officials during meetings in which she also discussed relief work for war-displaced civilians.

"We talked about being allowed to have clearance to areas for longer periods. I must say the feedback I received was positive," Bragg told reporters in Colombo at the end of her three-day visit.

UN staff currently get one month`s permission to work in the northern regions that are recovering after government forces in May 2009 crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels, ending a 37-year conflict.

"We wanted the one-month period extended to about three months, and the government was very receptive towards the idea," Bragg said.

She commended the government on its post-war relief and reconstruction work, but said much needed to be done to help people returning to their homes and villages.

"Most of the returnees currently have limited access to basic services such as shelter, water and sanitation and health care. These communities remain extremely vulnerable and have critical humanitarian needs that we must address immediately," she said.

Bureau Report

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