UN says fighting intensified and heavy weapons being used
According to UN report as on 4-May-2009:
- > The fighting has intensified and heavy weapons are being used
-> Sri Lanka estimated 50,000 people are trapped in the fighting
-> Total internally displaced people (IDP) : 188,000 In Detention Camp: 186,000 In hospital: 1,700
-> Sri Lanka atlast agreed to provide cooked food at screen point
“According to reports from those remaining inside the conflict zone, fighting has intensified with both light and heavy weapons being used,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters on Monday in New York, citing information from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The United Nations remains concerned that military operations have continued over the past week in the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka, where an estimated 50,000 people are trapped by fighting between government forces and the LTTE, she said.
According to OCHA, as of Monday, more than 188,000 people have crossed out of the conflict zone, with the vast majority accommodated in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Vavuniya. Over 186,000 are in camps, and some 1,700 wounded and their caregivers are in hospitals.
“There has been no report of displaced persons on their way to the camps since 27 April, although delays in confirming numbers mean that official counts lag behind realities on the ground,” Ms. Okabe said.
Meanwhile, UN agencies are working to meet the basic needs of the arriving IDPs. The World Food Programme (WFP) has been able to accelerate food distribution in Vavuniya, and the Government of Sri Lanka has agreed that cooked meals should be provided at Omanthai screening point.
In Jaffna, response in the camps has been stepped up in the area of health, including the treatment of chicken pox, the provision of toilets, hygiene kits, temporary teaching space and supplementary food. In addition, work to protect civilians and to facilitate family reunifications is ongoing, the UN reported.
Asked about reports of hospital shelling, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations was unable to confirm such reports independently, but added that it remains particularly concerned about the situation of the estimated 50,000 remaining civilians in the area, who are believed to be at serious risk. The United Nations also remains concerned about heavy fighting, she said.
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Narita, Chiba, Japan