(Image: Tamil Tiger bicycle platoon...well it's better than walking, I guess.)A THOUSAND amputees were among the wounded and dying waiting to be rescued from a beach in northeast Sri Lanka yesterday, according to aid agencies.
Frightened Tamil families, the latest victims of the country’s 26-year civil war, were hiding in makeshift trenches as they came under artillery fire while waiting to be evacuated from Puthumathalan beach.
Last week the International Committee of the Red Cross removed 460 injured and their families from the area, using local fishermen to carry the wounded on wooden dinghies to the Green Ocean ferry leased for the operation. The ferry was due to return last night to rescue more of the injured.
Sophie Romanens, a Red Cross representative in Sri Lanka, said the scene was desperate. “The capacity for evacuation is far below the need,” she said. “We have to decide to take the casualties who are more badly injured and leave behind the ones who are less badly injured.” They are among 150,000 civilians trapped in an area of 13 square miles after fleeing a government offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, known as the Tamil Tigers.
More than 300 civilians were being killed every week in artillery or air attacks, or were dying for lack of medical care, food or water, aid agencies said. The Tamils are desperate because the last hospital in the area was forced to close after twice being bombed by the Sri Lankan army.
These seem to be the last days of a bloody ethno-political Sri Lankan civil war that has dragged on for 45 years. But it's not a happy ending for ethnic Tamils - whatever you think of the Tamil Tigers, who are branded terrorists by the UK and other countries for their MOs, the ethnic Tamils in northern Sri Lanka have fought for independence since 1963; any chance of this happening has now disappeared, following a major government offensive.