Sri Lanka: Allow Aid Groups to Help Cyclone Victims

[ HRW ]

The Sri Lankan government should immediately lift its September order barring humanitarian agencies from the Vanni conflict area in northern Sri Lanka so they can assist thousands of persons displaced by flooding from Cyclone Nisha. Experienced and impartial humanitarian agencies have offered to respond to the crisis, but face government obstruction. Only government-approved food convoys have been allowed to enter the Vanni since the government in September 2008 ordered the United Nations and nearly all humanitarian agencies to withdraw from the Vanni, severely limiting humanitarian access to the affected population. Cyclone Nisha hit northern Sri Lanka on November 25, 2008, causing heavy rains and flooding that reportedly forced between 60,000 and 70,000 people to relocate.

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