Sri Lanka ‘Bloodbath’ Hits Last Standing Hospital
The humanitarian crisis in northern Sri Lanka deepens with the death of 47 civilians in an attack on a temporary hospital.
Some 47 patients and bystanders were killed and more than 50 others wounded after a mortar shell struck the admissions ward of the only functioning hospital in Sri Lanka’s northern war zone.
Local sources say at least 1,000 civilians may have been killed during the recent round of attacks, started from Saturday.
About 50,000 Sri Lankan civilians are trapped inside the 4-kilometer-long coastal strip along with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels who have been fighting for a homeland for minority Tamils.
The Sri Lankan government and the separatist rebels both denied involvement in the recent waves of shelling that hit the strip held by the LTTE militants.
Meanwhile, UN spokesman Gordon Weiss on Monday found a label to describe the situation in the troubled country.
“The large-scale killing of civilians over the weekend, including the deaths of more than 100 children, shows that our fear of a potential blood bath has become a reality,” he said.
Many of the casualties from that fighting had been taken to the Mullivaikal hospital.
The UN estimates that about 50,000 civilians are still trapped in the narrow strip of land held by the separatist LTTE, commonly known as the Tamil Tigers.
The government has repeatedly denied shelling the war zone, saying it is the separatists who are attacking civilians.
Seevaratnam Puleedevan, a Tamil Tiger spokesman, said civilians were fleeing in all directions inside the zone.
“There’s no place to seek shelter or protect themselves,” he said.
“We are really afraid that if the Sri Lankan government is not being pressured to stop the carnage, then many more civilians will die.”
Keheliya Rambukwella, the Sri Lankan defence spokesman, denied the army hadlaunched any air raids or used artillery.
Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, said on Monday that he was “appalled at the killings of hundreds of civilians in Sri Lanka over the weekend”. >>>