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A Catastrophe for Sri Lanka’s Children

2009-05-12

Kathmandu, 12 May 2009 – With more children killed and injured in the past 48 hours, UNICEF today denounced the disastrous impact of the conflict in Sri Lanka on children.

“With an estimated 50,000 civilians trapped in a tiny space of just a few square kilometers we fear many more children will be killed if the current Government offensive continues and if the LTTE refuses to allow civilians to leave the conflict zone,” said UNICEF’s Regional Director for South Asia, Daniel Toole.

Thousands of civilians including many children have been killed or injured in this conflict since the beginning of the year.

“The UN Secretary General has made it clear that the world is watching this crisis closely. This latest surge in fighting is a catastrophe for children and shows a complete disregard for these most vulnerable of civilians,” said Toole.

UNICEF again called on the Government of Sri Lanka to show maximum restraint in its military actions to ensure protection of civilians, and on the LTTE to immediately allow civilians to leave the fierce fighting.

UNICEF also expressed its alarm at the dire living conditions within the conflict zone where a critical lack of medicines, food and clean water are adding to the suffering of those trapped.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.