Press

Media centre

News releases

Reporters' toolkit

Ethical guidelines

Hot topics

Children and media

Calendar 2014

Press contacts

 

UNICEF fears for thousands of children trapped in Sri Lanka’s conflict

KATHMANDU, 20 April 2009 – As 35,000 people today fled Sri Lanka’s conflict zone, UNICEF said it held grave fears for those children who remain trapped in escalating fighting.

With tens of thousands of children still caught amid growing hostilities between the LTTE and troops of the Government of Sri Lanka, UNICEF warned of dreadful consequences for children. 

“If fighting continues and if the LTTE refuses to allow people to leave the conflict zone, then we face the intolerable inevitability of seeing many more children killed,” said UNICEF’s Regional Director for South Asia, Daniel Toole.

The United Nations estimates that more than 100,000 people remain trapped in the middle of intense fighting on a 14 square kilometer strip of beach in Sri Lanka’s north.

“With this latest surge in fighting, our greatest fear is that the worst is yet to come,” said Mr Toole. “With the high concentration of people in a small space, the number of children killed in this conflict will continue to escalate. This is a price too heavy to pay. Solutions should be sought not just to win the war, but to win the peace.”

UNICEF supports calls by the UN Secretary General for a cessation in fighting during which aid workers could access the conflict zone and those civilians who want to leave are given the chance to do so.

To date there are 65,000 IDPS in camps in Vavuniya, Jaffna and Mannar, with 35,000 more to arrive in the next 48 hours. Overcrowding is a problem in most of the camps. Women and children coming out of the conflict affected areas have endured extreme conditions, including scarcity of food, for extended periods of time. UNICEF and the United Nations strongly advocate an early resettlement of IDPs. In the meantime, emergency relief assistance is required for these people.

UNICEF’s emergency support for children and their families includes nutritional support to malnourished children and their mothers, the provision of hygiene kits, emergency health kits, safe water, latrines and bathing facilities, and temporary learning shelters and educational kits for children. At the same time UNICEF is supporting hospitals to meet the increased needs for mother and child health, and is supporting the provision of psychosocial support and the identification of separated and unaccompanied children.

UNICEF is in urgent need of US $3.5million to cover the most immediate needs of the affected population in health and nutrition, water and sanitation, protection and education.

.........................................................................................

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:

James Elder
Communication Chief
UNICEF Sri Lanka
Tel: 94 11 255 5270 ext 250; HP: 94 7 7741 6742
Email: jelder@unicef.org

Sarah Crowe
Regional Chief of Communications
UNICEF South Asia
Tel: +91 11 2460 6247, HP: +91 99 1053 2314
Email: scrowe@unicef.org

 

 
Search:

 Email this article

Donate Now

unite for children