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Continued fighting in Sri Lanka’s north concerns UN

[Hindu, Saturday, 17 January 2009 13:24 No Comment]

The UN has expressed concern over wellbeing of thousands of civilians caught up in the intensified fighting between Government forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in northern Vanni area of Sri Lanka.


"As fighting surrounds the areas towards which families have been displaced and with few choices about where to move, they are increasingly susceptible to harm due to the fighting," Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes told reporters here.


"While they have had access to basic food, in large part due to the Government and the UN assistance transported through the lines of fighting," he said, adding "they have few, if any, reserves and the conditions of their basic shelter, water and sanitation are increasingly inadequate as many have been displaced multiple times over the last months, weeks and days."


The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that around 230,000 people have been displaced due to intensified fighting in the north of the country during the second half of 2008.


Holmes yesterday called upon the LTTE to allow civilians to move freely to areas where they feel most secure and for the Government to receive newly displaced people according to internationally agreed principles.

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