An escalation of conflict in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka has resulted in the internal displacement of thousands of people, with more than 230,000 stranded precariously close to areas of heavy fighting. Early in February 2009, a ‘Safety Zone’ for civilians trapped in the fighting in the north was established, but there are no hospitals in the area of people caught in the conflict.
Small-scale medical treatment is given in school buildings and under trees. A medical officer stated that since there are no adequate treatment facilities the chances are high that the injured people are going to die. There are no voluntary organisations or representatives from the United Nations in the war zone.
An observer caught in the conflict described the war scene: ‘Killings of people are very cruel here. People are affected mentally and are crippled and disabled. Cries of the people “My God! My God!” are heard all the time. They live in extreme fear of dying without basic needs or medical facilities.
‘Every day people are suffering from shellings, illness and inadequate health facilities. They are without sleep day and night and unable to cope with the pain and cruelty of this war. They are at the edge of death, hoping for a ceasefire, peace talks and the return of peace’.