Sri Lanka’s Civil War Takes a Toll
Posted on Feb 13, 2009
The toll in the recent spate of clashes in the decades-long battle between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government has been officially estimated: 40 civilians are being killed every day, with more than 100 wounded, as artillery shells and gun battles between the two sides devastate the Sri Lankan northeast.
Artillery shelling and gunbattles between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels are killing about 40 civilians every day and wounding more than 100 others inside Sri Lanka’s war zone, the top health official in the region said Friday.
Aid groups have estimated more than 200,000 civilians were trapped in a tiny strip of land still controlled by the rebels along the northeastern coast. The military and the rebels deny attacking civilians, but reports from aid workers, health officials and evacuees implicate both sides.
Dr. Thurairajah Varatharajah, the government health officer for the Mullaittivu district, said Friday that artillery shelling was routinely hitting civilian areas in the region and the makeshift hospital he was running out of a school in the coastal town of Putumattalan was overwhelmed by casualties.
The facility was badly understaffed since most of the doctors and nurses either fled the war zone or had stopped coming to work, and the makeshift hospital was running out of some essential antibiotics and anesthesia, he said.
An injured Tamil child awaits medical treatment in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.