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UN states, children shocked due to Sri Lankan conflict [Monday February 09 2009 04:21:39 AM GMT] UNICEF states, Sri Lankan children are being utterly traumatized during the conflict in Sri Lanka, as families hid in underground shelters with very few resources. Michele Montas, the spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said concerns over the fate of civilians was raised during a telephone conversation between the UN Secretary General and President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week.
"The Secretary-General reiterates the responsibility of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to allow people to move to wherever they feel safe and the obligation of the Government to conduct its military operations with due regard to the need to safeguard civilian lives," Montas told journalists at the UN.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the entire population of the Wanni region where fighting is taking place is facing a food crisis due to displacement of the population as well as crop failure and recent floods.
The agency said that it has sent 11 convoys into the region since September 2008, to keep some 230,000 people alive.
The UN official Mr. Tamrak, recalling his meetings with important government and UN personnel during his current visit, emphasized that with the military situation reaching a critical stage now, the importance of Sri Lanka and the UN redoubling their efforts to assist civilians has become even more pronounced. Referring to the larger role the UN could play in Sri Lanka in the post conflict phase, he confirmed that the UN Secretary General was looking forward to more productive engagement in areas such as re-settlement, rehabilitation, de-mining, livelihood development, etc.
The UN official further stressed that with the area of operation in the Vanni decreasing; the pressure was more on the civilian people to move out to safer places, and in that context noted the Governments commitment to ensure the safety of civilians and their movement to secure areas.