Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: bombed hospital now empty, UN says

A hospital in the zone of fighting between the Government and rebel forces in north-eastern Sri Lanka, which has been the scene of heavy shelling and aerial bombardment for several days, was empty this morning, the United Nations reported.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN staff said that bombings took place for several hours yesterday, and the hospital was empty this morning after intense military operations overnight.

The hospital was shelled numerous times on Sunday, resulting in the killing of 11 people altogether, including one nurse, Gordon Weiss of OCHA said on Monday.

The hospital has around 600 patients, with new people arriving all the time of which hundreds are critically injured and cannot be treated.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is continuing its negotiations to allow a food convoy into the Vanni region. With the last batch of supplies having reached the area on 29 January, the agency has been told that the earliest this can happen is Friday.

An estimated 250,000 civilians are trapped in areas of northern Sri Lanka where fighting continues between Government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).