Near Sri Lanka’s War Zone, the Injured Struggle to Cope
The ravages of Sri Lanka’s civil war were on full display Thursday in the crowded wards of the municipal hospital in this eastern port city, 40 miles from the front line. Catholic nuns with bullet and shrapnel wounds, infants as young as a week old, and men with amputated legs were arrayed on beds or lay on the floor.
A total of 368 injured civilians were being treated in the hospital, and more were on the way. A boatload of 160 patients chartered by the Red Cross was due to dock here late Thursday.
This war is almost over.
That is good but it will
still take many years for
all the war related problems
to be resolved.
Patients arrived here after being transferred on Tuesday from a field hospital close to the fighting.
“All the wounds were infected,” said one doctor, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to a reporter.
The government, which has rejected calls by foreign governments for a cease fire, said Thursday that it had set up a seven-mile no-fire zone along the coast to help channel “humanitarian aid and medical supplies for the people stranded.” The new zone replaces a similar zone further inland.
The government also said its troops advanced further into rebel territory on Thursday, capturing a facility that it described as a factory that made roadside bombs.