Canada ups relief aid for Sri Lanka

OTTAWA, May 4, 2009 (AFP) – Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation Beverley Oda announced Monday an increase in humanitarian aid for civilians displaced by ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka. Ottawa will provide three million dollars (2.5 million US) to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the World Food Programme and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, it said.

The amount is in addition to seven million dollars previously pledged by the Canadian government for the people of Sri Lanka this year.

“This tragic situation for the civilians is of grave concern and our government is responding to the increasing need for assistance,” Oda said in a statement.

“We are strongly urging all parties to immediately cease fire and facilitate access for humanitarian workers to give the urgently needed assistance,” she said.

Earlier, Sri Lanka rejected Oda’s appeal during a visit to the country for a cease fire to allow aid to reach an estimated 160,000 people who have fled the fighting, and up to 60,000 civilians who remain in the conflict zone.

Sri Lanka believes it is on the threshold of defeating the rebel Tamil Tigers after 37 years of fi

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