Humanitarian tragedy in Vanni enters deadlier phase
[TamilNet, Friday, 16 January 2009, 12:33 GMT]
Indiscriminate artillery, multi-barrel and mortar fire by the Sri Lanka Army from all the corners of shrinking territory centering Puthukkudiyiruppu town, its suburbs and adjoining jungles in the Mullaiththeevu district, which is overcrowded with civilians, has worsened the humanitarian tragedy that has been unfolding in Vanni during the last 4 days. There are deaths and injuries caused to the civilians fleeing the onslaught of the SLA. Medical authorities said the situation was beyond control Friday noon and the hospitals have come under attack and ambulances were not operating. Access route from Vadamaraadchi East has been cut off by the SLA that has entered Chu'ndikku'lam area.
Mullaiththeevu Puthukkudiyiruppu land route also remained blocked due to indiscriminate mortar attacks.
The entire area with civilians has come under artillery range. Gunfire was heard in all the directions.
Unless the shelling is stopped, every shell being fired into the overcrowded area would cause civilian casualties.
The fate of the patients and staff at Kallaa'ru hospital is not known.
The access route for civilians to cross over into Vanni mainland from Vadamaraadchi East has been blocked by the SLA, according to initial reports.
Medical personnel at the hospital in Visuvamadu said the situation was pathetic as SLA-fired shells were exploding in the close vicinity.
SLA shelling has targeted Vallipunam, Chuthanthirapuram.
There are reports of civilian deaths and casualties in Visuvamadu town being vacated by the civilians. Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) attacks targeted Athisaya Vinayakar temple area in Visuvamadu, causing panic among the fleeing civilians.
Detailed reporting and verification of casualties have become difficult under the prevailing circumstances.