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Posts Tagged ‘disease’

NEW DELHI (AlertNet) – As Sri Lanka marks the first anniversary of the end of the war, shortages of food and water and outbreaks of disease are plaguing tens of thousands of war-displaced who are still living in camps, aid workers say. (more…)

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by John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. The Guardian

As London witnesses Tamil protests, a bloodbath on the beaches of northern Sri Lanka seems an increasingly real possibility. The Sri Lankan military has pushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam into an area so small that any shooting or shelling inevitably causes casualties among the 150,000 to 190,000 civilians trapped in the same zone. There have been many hundreds of civilian deaths caused by firing from both sides, though exact numbers and who fired what and when are impossible to verify. It is clear that the LTTE is refusing to let people flee, though many are managing to escape somehow, and I fear the combatants may be gearing up for a final confrontation. This is a very grave situation.

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By Nita Bhalla, Reuters News

A woman walks near barbed wire at an internally displaced camp set up in Vavuniya for Tamils who have escaped the war zone.

Sri Lanka’s government says its 25-year war is nearing its conclusion as troops close in on Tamil Tiger rebels cornered in a tiny patch of land on the northeast coast. Aid agencies are warning of possibly dire humanitarian consequences for tens of thousands of civilians trapped with the Tigers in the shrinking war zone. And even after the conflict is over, the fate of civilians remains a serious concern. Here are some questions and answers about the fate of civilians caught up in Asia’s longest-running war:

HOW MANY CIVILIANS ARE AFFECTED? According to the United Nations and Red Cross, about 150,000 civilians are trapped inside the rapidly shrinking “no-fire zone”, a strip of land just 7 km long and 2 km wide (4 miles by 1.2 miles) along the northeastern coast. The government says that there are less than 100,000 there. The United Nations and rights groups say the Tigers have held people as human shields or conscripts. Some civilians who have managed to flee the no-fire zone report being fired on by the rebels or seeing friends and relatives forcibly recruited to fight. The U.N. and rights groups also say the government has shelled the densely packed no-fire zone, which the government denies as Tiger propaganda. Aid workers estimate about 5,000 civilians have managed to escape in the past two weeks, joining around 65,000 people who are being held in government-controlled camps.

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By USAID, U.S. Angecy for International Development

Before the Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
United States Senate

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before this Committee concerning assistance for civilian victims of war by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Twenty years after the creation of the Patrick Leahy War Victims Fund, we have an important story to tell of changed lives, hopeful livelihoods, and respect for the dignity of women and men who have endured severe physical and emotional trauma.

War and civil strife continue to cause death and destruction around the world. The consequences for civilians are devastating: families lose their breadwinner, and men, women, and children suffer physical injuries that dramatically changed their assumptions about how they will live and provide for themselves and their families. The statistics are alarming:

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