Statement by Bernard Kouchner - 24th April 2009
"Given the seriousness of the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, the Security Council had a meeting on Wednesday, at the request particularly of France. In the face of this emergency, I have also decided to mobilize French emergency humanitarian assistance.
France’s contribution to the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees for Sri Lanka will be doubled from €500,000 to €1 million.
The financial aid the Humanitarian Emergency Fund is giving to the French NGOs working in Sri Lanka will also be more than doubled:
ACTED [Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development], which has already received €100,000, will get an additional €150,000 to supply the camps of internally-displaced persons with drinking water.
Handicap International, which has already received €150,000 will get a further €200,000 to provide displaced persons with medical assistance.
I have asked our embassy in Colombo, liaising with the Sri Lankan authorities, to look at ways of providing support for the Vavunya and Trincomalee hospitals which are currently suffering severe shortages of medical equipment because of the huge number of injured.
Furthermore, in cooperation with Michèle Alliot-Marie, Minister of the Interior, Overseas France and Local Authorities, we have decided to send a field hospital to Sri Lanka with an operating theatre and medical/surgical team.
As part of a mission led by the Foreign and European Ministry’s crisis centre, an ESCRIM (Eléments de sécurité civile rapide d’intervention médicale - rapid-response medical emergency team) detachment, comprising 72 people and 30 tonnes (i.e. 143 m3) of equipment, is going to be sent to Sri Lanka within the next few days."
Minister of Foreign and European Affairs