UN convoy carrying Sri Lanka wounded leaves war zone

Humanitarian agencies say about 250,000 civilians are trapped in the remaining 300 square km (115 sq miles) of LTTE territory in northeastern Sri Lanka.

UN convoy carrying Sri Lanka wounded leaves war zone

A U.N. convoy carrying hundreds of people wounded in shelling between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan military left the war zone on Thursday after being held back two days ago, the United Nations said.

"The convoy just crossed the frontline with hundreds of the civilians wounded by the fighting, including 50 critically wounded children, who are being moved to a Ministry of Health hospital," U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss said.

Humanitarian agencies say about 250,000 civilians are trapped in the remaining 300 square km (115 sq miles) of LTTE territory in northeastern Sri Lanka.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says hundreds have been killed or wounded in the last week.

Many were stranded without adequate treatment in poorly equipped hospitals and the ICRC and United Nations arranged a convoy to carry them to a government hospital in Vavuniya, outside the war zone in the Indian Ocean island's north.

The LTTE on Tuesday denied the convoy permission to leave, saying it was not safe to go, after the army stopped firing for a brief period, the United Nations has said.

Late on Wednesday, the pro-rebel web site www.TamilNet.com said the LTTE had denied blocking the convoy, quoting the director of the LTTE Peace Secretariat, S. Puleedevan.

"The LTTE has been repeatedly urging the ICRC to facilitate unhindered transportation of injured civilians who need urgent attention and also for the provision of medical facilities locally," TamilNet quoted him as saying.

Reuters

Last Mod: 29 Ocak 2009, 14:05
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