Civilian casualties evacuated as Sri Lankan fighting eases

Place: Jaffna | Courtesy: Indian Express
| Date: 20000605

IRATTAPERIYAKULAM: First aid workers are taking advantage of a lull in the fighting to evacuate the worst casualties from the recent escalation in Sri Lanka's ethnic-based civil war.

Nearly all are civilians who said they were seriously injured by government shelling when the military launched a series of strikes against the rebel Tamil Tigers, which ended Tuesday last week.

The most critically injured were dispersed between hospitals behind the fontlines in the northern Sri Lankan town of Vavunya and Anura dhapura in the north-central part of the country.

Another several thousand internal refugees were placed in camps between Irattaperiyakulam, near the town of Vavuniya, and the Jaffna peninsula further to the north.

Among the most critically injured, 24 were shipped to Vavunya General Hospital near here. Most had lost limbs.

In the hospital's Ward Three, the head nurse pulls an eye bandage off a patient, S. Suhandra, and says: "Look he has no eye, he's only 18, a student."

R. Subrahimum, a 60-year-old farmer, lost his right leg. His wife lies critically injured in Ward Two.

I. M. Appruhhasa, a 48-year-old gardener, lost his shoulder and S. Baskeram, a 23-year-old farmer, suffered burns, severe fractures, lost two fingers and both knee caps. AFP