UN seeks 44 million dollars to feed Sri Lanka displaced

Feb 14, 2008 (AFP) – A United Nations agency Thursday appealed for 44 million dollars to feed thousands of people displaced by fighting between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels. The World Food Programme (WFP) currently feeds more than a million Sri Lankans, of whom 400,000 have been internally displaced.

“For now, we urgently need 11 million dollars… to feed people as fighting increases in the northern districts of Jaffna and Vavuniya,” WFP country director, Mohamed Saleheen, told AFP.

“Our operations are suffering as donor funds are not coming fast enough to pay for local purchases,” he said, noting that 44 million dollars was needed “by the end of this year.”

The WFP was also short of 2.8 million dollars to maintain its UN-flagged trucks and to continue the UN Humanitarian Air Service unit between Colombo and the northern town of Jaffna.

People have fled towns and villages since December 2005 as fighting has escalated between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and security forces.

The island’s government last month pulled out of the six-year Norwegian-brokered truce with the Tamil Tigers, who have fought for more than three decades for an in