Increasing number of children injured in fighting in Sri Lanka
Kathmandu, 30 January 2009 – Calling the situation a crisis for children, UNICEF today said that an increasing number of children, some just months old, had been injured in the fighting in Sri Lanka in the past 10 days. UNICEF again called upon the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to give absolute priority to the safety of children and the wider civilian population.
“We have clear evidence that children are being caught in the crossfire, and that children are being injured and killed,” said Mr Daniel Toole, UNICEF’s Regional Director for South Asia. “It is crucial that safe areas, schools and medical facilities are protected and considered zones of peace, in all circumstances.
“Children are bearing the brunt of a conflict which is not theirs. We are gravely concerned for the tens of thousands of children who are trapped in a fast shrinking area of intense conflict,” said Toole.
UNICEF reiterated its calls from last week for children and civilians to be protected from the fighting and allowed to move freely to safe areas. UNICEF said it was relieved to see that a group of injured children were evacuated yesterday to a government hospital to receive proper medical treatment.
“Every injured child must immediately be taken from the conflict zone so that they too can receive appropriate medical support,” said Mr Toole.
In addition to being exposed to the conflict, UNICEF said that children are living in conditions with inadequate health care, safe water, sanitation and shelter.
“The best possible thing for these children and their families is to be able to move to safe areas that are free of fighting, so that they can receive support and assistance,” said Toole.
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.
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Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York, Tel: + 212 326 7426 e-mail: email@example.com
James Elder, Communication Chief, UNICEF Sri Lanka, Mobile: 94-777416742, Office: 94-11-2555270 ext 250 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Crowe, Regional Chief of Communications, UNICEF South Asia
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