Food aid distribution completed in LTTE controlled areas, claims Gov.

Feb 20 (IL) The Ministry of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation (RRR) while contesting the figures of tsunami victims in Batticaloa and Ampara said the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) has returned nearly 25,000 World Food Aid Ration (WFAR) cards after distributions were completed in the LTTE controlled areas.

At a news conference presided by Minister of Public Security Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Secretary Relief Distribution Tilak Ranaviraja said each district of North and East was provided for, with 50,000 (WFAR) and the TRO returned what was in excess. He said the purported figures sent by the agents in Batticaloa do not tally with the actual victims. "According to what they say, 60% of the people of Batticaloa could be victims and we know that it is not correct. The people of these areas have misunderstood the reason for the distribution and claim to be victimized. However we will only give these rations to the people who can prove they have been affected". He said the distribution was organised to prevent fraud. He also said the streamlining has good results and most of the people in need have been delivered.

Representatives of the RRR and the Samurdhi Ministry and those who were present said that distribution in most areas was going smoothly except that some of the items were not available. The representative of the RRR said that oil was in short supply.

Mr. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake said the President had advised that the rations include dried fish and vegetables instead of dhal. He said the ration could also include spray dried infant milk for families in need of the commodity. A member of the Finance Ministry said that a number of items including vegetable oil had reached the Port of Colombo and would be delivered as soon as they are cleared