Sri Lanka gets more US aid for refugees, demining

Aug 19, 2009 (LBO) – The United States said it is giving more aid to Sri Lanka to support civilians displaced by the ethnic war and to clear land mines so they could return home soon. The US embassy said in a statement it is giving two million dollars to support the needs of refugees housed in welfare camps and another six million dollars to support demining in the island’s north.

Some 280,000 minority Tamil civilian are detained in refugee camps in the north whose return to their original homes the US has said it wants speeded up.

The government says the refugees are being detained while Tamil Tiger rebels hiding among them are weeded out and until their villages are cleared of landmines to ensure their safe return.

The US embassy statement said the US Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), is providing two million dollars for short-term assistance to benefit 200,000 refugees.

This brings USAID’s contribution of non-food aid assistance this year to a total of eight million dollars.

Rebecca Cohn, USAID Mission Director said the agency is supporting the work of non-governmental organisation