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Last updated: 06 February, 2009 - Published 17:16 GMT
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ICRC denies 'causing panic'
Minister Keheliya Rambukwella
ICRC 'tried to create fear psychosis among the international community'
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has denied accusations by the Sri Lanka government of inciting panic over the military assault on Tamil Tiger rebels in the north.

Defence spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said the Red Cross had ordered thirty-five-thousand body bags for the battle zone, in order to create what he called a fear psychosis among the international community.

The Red Cross confirmed a routine order of 2000 body bags but denied the accusation that it was trying to cause panic.

'Food crisis'

ICRC spokesman in Geneva, Simon Shroner, told BBC Sandeshaya that ordering body bags is a routine humanitarian measure.

Meanwhile, the ICRC office in Colombo had been attacked on Friday by protestors who threw stones and accused the group of supporting the Tamil Tigers.

In another development, the UN World Food Programme has warned that a quarter-of-a-million people trapped in the war zone are facing a food crisis.

The WFP said it had not been able to get a supply convoy through since the middle of January.

Only ICRC and UN workers are allowed by the government to carry out humanitarian work in the rebel-held areas.

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