UN food agency reopens office destroyed at height of Sri Lankan civil war

A WFP truck convoy travelling to the northern Vanni region of Sri Lanka in October 2008

18 June 2010 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today officially reopened an office in the key northern Sri Lankan town of Kilinochchi, two years after it was destroyed during heavy fighting in the country’s protracted civil war.

“Much of the 7.5-acre office site had been destroyed following heavy aerial and ground bombardment,” WFP spokesperson Emilia Casella told journalists in Geneva, referring to the September 2008 closure because of clashes between Government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

In May last year the Government declared victory over the LTTE after defeating their forces and recapturing rebel-held territory in the far north of the island nation.

The new WFP offices, which consist of portable containers, will be expanded to include staff from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

With four WFP staff now on the ground and more to arrive soon, the UN agency said it will be able to re-establish the monitoring of food dispatches to the targeted population in the area and support the ongoing resettlement and early-recovery process of the region.

Even without an office, WFP has been providing food to the displaced population which includes some 62,000 people in camps and 228,000 others who had returned to their home districts.

In addition, the agency provides 300,000 school lunches, and take-home rations to 27,000 pregnant and lactating women and small children.

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