Sri Lankan displaced children malnourished: govt

April 11, 2009 (AFP) – At least one in four children displaced by Sri Lanka’s ongoing fighting between troops and Tamil Tigers was malnourished, the health ministry said Saturday. Supplies to the area have been few and far between because of the intensity of fighting while the authorities have also severely restricted access for humanitarian agencies and international observers. Malnutrition among children below the age of five years in the embattled Mullaittivu district had reached 25 percent, the highest in the island, the ministry said in a statement quoting a recent survey of families displaced by the war.

The results were believed to be indicative of malnutrition among children still trapped in the rebel-held zone, it said.

It added that malnutrition in Tamil Tiger areas had overtaken another district in the north-east — Trincomalee — which was till recently the area with the highest rate at 24 percent.

However, it denied a report from a doctor in the conflict zone that undernourishment in the area was as high as 69 percent for children below the age of five.

The United Nations estimates that some 100,000 people are trapped in Sri Lanka’s battle zon