Bomb Attack in Sri Lanka

MSF Provides Emergency Medical Care

Paris /New York, January 28, 2000 — On January 27, a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) surgical team once again urgently intervened in Vavuniya, in northern Sri Lanka, where a bomb killed 8 people and wounded more than 50.

Twenty-eight wounded civilians, including three women, were treated by MSF in the city's main hospital. Eight people, three of whom were seriously injured, were operated on immediately. Most of the injured were burn victims.

Five additional wounded civilians were transferred to the hospital of Anuradhapura, located between Vavuniya and Batticaloa, along with an additional twenty-three wounded soldiers. A second MSF team, composed of one surgeon and one anesthetic nurse, was sent as backup from Batticaloa in the hours following the explosion.

Once again, the civilian population of Sri Lanka is paying a heavy price for a war that has lasted more than 15 years and has received little attention from the world.

Last November 20, a church in Madhu where a few thousand civilians had sought refuge was bombed, killing 38 people and injuring 64 civilians, many of whom were also treated by a Doctors Without Borders' team in Vavuniya.

MSF has been in Sri Lanka since 1986. 35 volunteers are currently working in the conflict zones in the north and east of the country, in areas under both government and LTTE control. Currently, MSF teams are working in the hospitals in Batticaloa (surgery), Jaffna (pediatrics, maternity, surgery), Mallavi (surgery, pediatrics, gynecology and obstetrics), Vavuniya (surgery), and Madhu (general medicine). Mobile teams are providing consultations in the districts of Mannar, Batticaloa, and Vavuniya. In the districts of Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi, MSF runs programs concerned with mother-child health and malaria.