Thursday, January 29, 2009

UN evacuates Sri Lanka civilians

The UN in Sri Lanka says one of its convoys has evacuated hundreds of civilians wounded in fighting between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The convoy has crossed the frontline out of the battle zone.

A UN spokesman said the injured, including 50 children, were being taken to a hospital in Vavuniya.

Earlier, the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse denied that the fighting had led to a humanitarian crisis in the north.

UN spokesman Gordon Weiss said: "The convoy just crossed the frontline [with] hundreds of the civilians wounded by the fighting, including 50 critically wounded children, who are being moved to a Ministry of Health hospital in Vavuniya."

On Wednesday, Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the BBC that he had a policy of "zero" civilian casualties.

The Red Cross believes that hundreds of civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands more are trapped.

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