Sri Lanka: UN saddened by death of aid worker in ‘no-fire’ zone

19 March 2009

The United Nations said today it was saddened to learn of the death of an aid worker with the non-governmental organization CARE in the so-called “no-fire” zone in Sri Lanka’s strife-torn north.

R. Sabesan, a national staff member with CARE, died of injuries sustained as a result of shelling inside the zone, compounded by a lack of sufficient medical care, according to a statement issued by the UN in Colombo.

“Unfortunately, the death of Mr. Sabesan is an insight into the larger circumstances confronting civilians trapped by fighting in the conflict area,” it added.

The world body says as many as 180,000 civilians are seeking refuge in the Government-designated no-fire zone in the northern Vanni region from the ongoing clashes between the Sri Lankan Government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), repeated shelling has continued in the no-fire zone, as well as in other areas where civilians are sheltering.

OHCHR noted reports that over 2,800 people may have been killed and 7,000 others injured – many in the no-fire zones – since late January. Many children are believed to be among the casualties, with hundred having lost their lives and over 1,000 hurt.

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