Canada triples aid to Sri Lanka

MONTREAL, August 8, 2009 (AFP) – Canada has decided to triple its humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka to assist people displaced by the country’s conflict with Tamil separatists, Canada’s top development minister said Saturday. The move came after Minister of International Cooperation Beverley Oda spent three days visiting the island nation and will take Canada’s total aid contributions to Sri Lanka from 7.5 million to 22.5 million Canadian dollars (20 million US dollars).

Oda on Friday visited a camp for displaced people in Vavuniya as part of her three-day official visit in the wake of Sri Lanka’s violent conflict with the separatist Tamil Tigers rebel group.

The lengthy government campaign against the rebel group effectively crushed the separatist movement, culminating in final brutal days of fighting in mid-May, but also resulted in massive displacement of the local civilian population.

“Canada is deeply concerned about the ongoing humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka,” said Oda. “During my visit to the displaced persons camp in Vavuniya, I witnessed the need of those who are living there.

“I am pleased that Canada is increasing its support to our partners in their work to provide basic humanitarian support