'Safe zone' under encircling fire, 137 killed in 3 days, ICRC worker wounded

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 March 2009, 12:48 GMT]
137 people have died and more than 200 injured since Saturday night in Sri Lanka Army shelling and gunfire inside the 'safe zone' of Vanni. At least 18 of them have died hit by long-range gunfire coming from SLA attacking the civilian zone. Meanwhile, massive bunker buster bombs numbering around 50 dropped by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) on the fringes of the 'safe zone' on Tuesday caused untold panic among the civilians.

Children wounded
12 children were wounded on Monday


58 civilians were killed on Sunday in SLA shelling. 12 civilians succumbed to injuries caused by long-range gunfire. On Monday, 29 were killed in shelling and 6 in the gunfire by the SLA, which reaches the safe-zone from all the directions. 73 civilians were wounded on Monday. 32 civilians were killed Tuesday morning in shelling. The casualty details of SLAF bombardment is yet to emerge.

An ICRC worker, K. Pulenthirarasa, was wounded in SLA gunfire on Monday near Maaththa'lan hospital and was taken on board the ICRC ship that transferred the wounded.

Meanwhile, medical authorities at Maaththa'lan hospital said 52 civilians were admitted Monday including 12 children below 15 years of age. Five succumbed to their injuries after admission.

“The people of Vanni have started seriously suspecting that the ultimate aim of the international community is promoting their capture by Colombo which exerts pressure using all means including food and medicine. The choices are limited to either immediate death inside the 'safe zone' or subjugation and genocide outside."

An NGO worker in Vanni, reflecting the mood of people told TamilNet correspondent that whatever that may happen, the civilians who are experiencing the untold misery at present and the Tamils in general who are watching the plight of their brethren are not going to have any respect or pay credibility to those who have extended their support to the genocidal war, which aims subjugation of the Tamils.

"The open defiance of Colombo to all international calls for ceasefire and, on the contrary, intensification of its attacks, have made civilians to suspect the integrity and credibility of the IC."

Elderly civilian struggling with malnutrition
An edlerly civilian affected by severe malnutrition.
Wounded rushed to hospital in tractor
Wounded being brought to makeshift hospital in a tractor
Makeshift hospital without mortuary
The makeshift-hospital at the school is using the playground as mortuary. The trauma suffered by the people and the medical staff was described as worse than what was experienced in the aftermath of the Tsunami that hit the same area.


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