February 14, 2009 (AFP) – Four civilians died when artillery shells fell on a home for the elderly inside a demarcated safe area within Sri Lanka’s war zone, a doctor said Saturday. Many elderly people were also injured in the shelling on Friday in the northeast Puttumattalan area, said T. Satyamurthy, a doctor working out of the makeshift community centre hospital.
He estimated more than 100 wounded civilians were coming to the hospital daily and most had shrapnel wounds. He did not know who had fired the shells.
The makeshift hospital is in a newly demarcated safe area for civilians to shelter as troops battle Tamil Tiger rebels cornered in a narrow strip of jungle in the island’s northeast.
“On Friday, nearly 100 civilians were admitted for injuries, on Thursday 87 admitted. They have injuries from shells, burn marks, but we don’t have basic medicine to treat them,” he said by telephone.
At least four patients also died on Thursday and Friday due to a lack of proper medicines, he said.
The makeshift hospital was understaffed, had no access to clean toilets, drinking water and cooked food, said Satyamurthy, who is also the regional director of heal