Rising civilian casualties, "catastrophic" situation

April 22, 2009

A day after my last post, what’s the situation of the estimated 100,000 civilians trapped in the war zone in northeastern Sri Lanka?  AI stated today that more than 4,500 civilians have died in the fighting in recent days, with hundreds of civilian casualties reported on Monday alone.  The International Committee of the Red Cross said today that the situation for the civilians trapped in the government-designated “no-fire zone” (which is the last remaining area controlled by the opposition Tamil Tigers) was “nothing short of catastrophic.”  Not only are the civilians being killed or wounded by every rocket or mortar fired, but they haven’t been receiving sufficient food or medical supplies, and so face growing threats of deaths from epidemics, malnutrition and lack of medical treatment.

Hours after Monday’s ultimatum given by the Sri Lankan army to the Tigers to surrender or face military action expired, the Tigers said they would never surrender.  The Sri Lankan army attacked the “no-fire zone” today and reportedly cut it in two.

The Sri Lankan government and the Tigers must immediately cease hostilities and agree to a temporary truce, so that civilians can leave the “no-fire zone” safely and aid supplies can be provided to those in the zone unable or unwilling to leave.  Both sides must immediately stop any attacks against civilians.

If you haven’t already written the Sri Lankan government and the Tigers, please visit the AIUSA website and do so today.   We need every voice.  Thanks.