Thousands leaving northern town

[TamilNet, Friday, 12 May 2000, 20:18 GMT]
The Jaffna teaching hospital continues to function with all of its staff spokesman for International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr.Harasha Gunawardena, told TamilNet this evening. He said that neither the government nor the Liberation Tigers have so far approached the ICRC about establishing a demilitarized zone comprising the hospital and its immediate environs.

Thousand of civilians began moving out of the town when the Sri Lanka army lifted the curfew for four hours from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. this morning. Bicycles, cars, vans and other vehicles among the people who are going towards safer areas to the west of the Valigamam sector.

The Liberation Tigers have been exhorting Tamil civilians to vacate the Jaffna town and move out to safer parts of the peninsula since Wednesday May 10.

Mr. Gunawardena said that only four civilians wounded by shelling were brought for treatment to the hospital since Tuesday May 9.

An ICRC team had visited the hospital today. There are 34 resident doctors and 38 non-resident doctors, including three surgeons are working in the hospital now according to him. Eleven resident nurses and hundred and fifty non-resident nurses are working in the hospital currently Mr.Gunawardena said.

Many patients left the hospital when the curfew was lifted temporarily today from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. according to sources in Jaffna town who could be reached by phone. Several pregnant women requiring urgent medical care have been transferred to the hospital at Manthikai near Pt. Pedro they claimed.

 

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