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250 patients evacuated, return of ICRC to Vanni urged
250 patients evacuated, return of ICRC to Vanni urged[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 February 2009, 15:21 GMT]
Two foreign officials of the ICRC officials left Vanni Tuesday around 5:00 p.m. in a ship transporting 250 seriously wounded patients, including 50 children, all wounded in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) artillery and Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) fire. The patients were taken on board the ship at LTTE controlled Puthumaaththa'lan in Mullaiththeevu to Trincomalee. The two ICRC officials who were remaining in Vanni had received instructions to be present in Trincomalee and it is not known whether they would return to Vanni, according to informed government officials.
Patients were transported in 2 ambulances, 3 buses and a lorry from a makeshift hospital at Puthumaaththa'lan to the coast, 1 km away from the hospital. The patients were taken in small boats from Puthumaaththa'lan shore to the ship anchored in mid-sea, the sources further said.
The armed forces of the Government of Sri Lanka, in gross violation of international law, have been refusing medical supplies to be transported into Vanni. Several hundred patients are struggling for their lives in Vanni without proper medical care.
The makeshift hospitals of Vanni look like slaughtering houses, commented a doctor and was concerned of the presence of ICRC in Vanni. "Without ICRC officials, we would lose even the possibility of bringing out our concerns to relevant mechanisms," he said.