Colombo orders all health workers to immediately leave Vanni

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 February 2009, 06:57 GMT]
Health ministry officials in Colombo issued Tuesday a 'final warning' to the 8 doctors and around one thousand medical and health workers of Mullaiththeevu and Ki'linochchi districts, now serving more than 250,000 civilians in the besieged Mullaiththeevu district, to immediately leave the LTTE controlled territory, according to the sources at the District Secretariat in Vavuniyaa. The move comes after military officials warned the medical staff of dire consequences.

Medical and humanitarian workers struggling to cope with mass casualties amongst hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians enduring relentless bombardment by the Sri Lankan military also faced warnings: Defence ministry officials were threatening them with 'dire consequences for helping supporters of terrorists' and have instructed the military to further tighten the block on urgently needed medical and food supplies into the war zone, the sources in Vavuniyaa said.

In the past few days Sri Lankan military officials have been harassing the medical staff working in Mullaiththeevu region warning them of dire consequences that will be faced by them and their families, for being 'traitors', when Sri Lankan troops move into the area.

Informed sources said a list of 'traitors to the nation' is already on Defence Secretary Gotabhaya’s desk and that he has given them one last chance to leave.

Meanwhile, administrative sources in Vavuniyaa say they have been told by military officials that no more food or medicine will be sent to “terrorists and those who support them.”

The essential humanitarian supplies of food after 29 January and medicines allocated for December 2008 and January 2009 have not been sent to Vanni, the sources further said.

Meanwhile, sources close to international relief agency World Food Program (WFP), said Sri Lankan military officials have declared no permission for relief convoys would be granted unless aid workers first guarantee none of the food or medicine will reach any third party in Vanni.

At the same time, all government employees in the administrative sector and the health sector are ordered to leave Vanni with an aim to sabotage the existing supply mechanism for humanitarian aid.

Colombo government has asked the WFP officials to secure guarantee for the delivery of humanitarian aid on one hand and has issued final warning to the administrative and health staff to leave Vanni on the other hand, in a bid to nullify the demands of the International Community to reach out the civilians in Vanni with humanitarian supplies.

Military officials have also said that government workers should move out for their own safety.


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