Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

Some 24,000 displaced fled northern Sri Lanka violence so far this year - UN

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 12 February 2009
Cite as UN News Service, Some 24,000 displaced fled northern Sri Lanka violence so far this year - UN, 12 February 2009, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The United Nations reported today that some 24,000 uprooted people have fled Sri Lanka's Vanni region so far this year, as clashes continue in the north of the South Asian island nation, where some 250,000 civilians are trapped by fighting between Government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

As a result, transit sites, few of which have been prepared so far, are becoming overcrowded.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a new "safe zone" has been set up along the western boundary of the Mullaitivu Lagoon, which includes areas where UN staff and their dependents are staying.

Over 350 people, including wounded children and orphans, have been evacuated to Trincomalee on the eastern coast, where the hospital no longer has space for new arrivals.

Authorities have located a facility for some 100 of those who are less severely wounded, and the UN and Sri Lanka's Department of Public Health are assessing preparedness and response adequacy.

Earlier this week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed "outrage" at the senseless killing of hundreds of civilians caught up in fighting between Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE in areas under rebel command.

"We are calling upon both the Government and the LTTE to halt indiscriminate fighting in close proximity to large concentrations of innocent people in the so-called safe zone," agency spokesperson Ron Redmond said.

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