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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Indian High Commissioner visits Northern Sri Lanka to oversee relief efforts
Sat, Mar 20, 2010, 08:40 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 20, Colombo: Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ashok K. Kantha, accompanied by officials of the High Commission, visited Vavuniya, Oddusudan, and Mullaitivu Friday to provide Indian assistance to the war displaced in the war-ravaged region.

According to a press release issued by the Indian High Commission in Colombo, the Indian diplomat along with Sri Lanka Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, Douglas Devananda, inaugurated a Limb Refitment Camp at Menik Farms Zone 1.

The Limb Refitment Camp is fully funded by Government of India and is being implemented by the Jaipur-based Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), a world famous non-governmental organization better known as the 'Jaipur Foot'.

In Vavuniya, the BMVSS has deputed a team of 19 experts from India, who would provide artificial limbs to about 1200 Sri Lankans who lost their limbs during the years of conflict in Sri Lanka. The Camp commenced its activities on March 13 and would continue for about 30 days.

The mission said the Camp has already received enthusiastic response from the disabled IDPs and the High Commissioner, along with the Minister Devananda, witnessed the on-the-spot process of fitting of artificial limbs, the immediate impact it made on their mobility and also interacted with the beneficiaries.

At Mullaitivu, the High Commissioner has participated in a ceremony to hand over Galvanised Corrugated Sheets (GC Sheets) and Agriculture "Starter Packs" to the IDP beneficiaries.

Indian government has so far supplied 5200 MT (about 500,000 sheets) in two consignments of GC sheets which are being used by the IDPs to construct their shelters in the new areas of habitation at a cost of Rs. 610 million rupees. The first lot of 2600 MT has already been distributed and benefitted about 20,000 families. The second lot of GC sheets is being currently distributed and is expected to benefit a similar number of families, the mission said.

The Agriculture "Starter Packs" distributed to the IDPs include basic tools and implements to help them to resume cultivation in their homesteads and subsequently in the farmlands allocated to them. India is supplying a total of such 70,000 "starter packs" at a cost of about 160 million rupees.

The Mission said the High Commissioner also met with local Sri Lankan Government officials in Vavuniya, Oddusudan, and Mullaitivu, who briefed him on the re-settlement process, the ongoing demining operations, and the various reconstruction projects being undertaken in these areas.

During the visit to Oddusudan, High Commissioner also visited the demining camp set up by the Indian NGOs. The High Commissioner also visited the Poonthottam Child Housing Camp at Vavuniya and interacted with the IDP Children. He also gifted sports items for the young children housed in the camp for their recreation activities.

During a visit to the General Hospital of Mullaitivu, the diplomat was briefed on the nature of assistance required for making the hospital fully operational.

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