More than 25,000 civilians fled Sri Lanka’s war-torn north yesterday as government troops broke through into the Tamil Tigers’ last stronghold, the military said.
Government footage showed a stream of thousands of people fleeing the area on Monday, April 20. Tens of thousands of people remain trapped in a no-fire zone, less than 14 square km on the country’s north-eastern coastline.
Civilians fleeing the war zone are seeking safety in temporary displacement camps where the need for medicines, food and shelter is growing.
“Tens of thousands of people have been flooding into government-controlled areas. We know from those who have fled earlier that these new waves of internally displaced survivors will be in great need, having been caught in the middle of a war zone for weeks,” said Suresh Bartlett, National Director for World Vision in Sri Lanka.
“There is great need for medicines, food and shelter. Humanitarian agencies want to be ramping up their responses to help.”
Even as an end to Asia’s longest running conflict seems to be nearing, the crisis is nevertheless set to pose a huge challenge in supporting families displaced by the fighting.
Date first published: Tuesday 21 April 2009