Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sri Lanka civilians tell of war ordeal

Civilians fleeing the area in north-east Sri Lanka where Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces are in fierce conflict have been telling the BBC of the ordeal of life under almost constant gunfire.

Added to the intense shelling there is an acute shortage of water, food and medicine.

The civilians also confirmed the long-levelled accusations by human rights groups that the Tigers are forcefully recruiting young children and are stopping people from moving out to government-controlled areas.

Some of the injured civilians from Wanni have been brought to Pulmoddai hospital in Trincomalee district on a ship under the supervision of the Red Cross.

After receiving initial treatment in a medical facility manned by a medical team from India, patients are sent to various hospitals in the north for further treatment.

Child recruitment

The BBC Tamil service secured rare access to some of the civilians who had arrived at Pulmoddai hospital, accompanying injured relatives.

Sridharan is one of more than 800 civilians who have arrived in the past few days on the ship. He is hoping to get medical treatment for his three-year-old son Vidushan.

>> Full Story: BBC