Sri Lanka calls for help with evacuees

Sri Lanka has appealed for international help after Médecins Sans Frontières warned that civilian casualties are rising rapidly in the war zone despite the exodus of more than 100,000 people.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said he was sending a mission of experts to assess the deteriorating situation. He said the team would be tasked to "monitor the situation and support humanitarian assistance".

The Red Cross evacuated about 350 wounded people and their accompanying relatives to a hospital outside the war zone on Wednesday. More were evacuated yesterday. Before those missions, the Red Cross had estimated that 1,000 people in the conflict zone were badly wounded and in need of treatment. Only two ill-equipped makeshift hospitals function in the tiny zone.

Dr Thangamuttu Sathyamurthi, who works there, said his staff were struggling with a shortage of medicine.

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