Sri Lanka Tamil

“Hospitals are supposed to be sanctuaries from shelling, not targets,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “While doctors and nurses struggle to save lives in overcrowded and under equipped facilities, Sri Lankan army attacks have hit one hospital after another.”

The Sri Lankan armed forces have repeatedly struck hospitals in the northern Vanni region in indiscriminate artillery and aerial attacks, during the war with LTTE Commanders responsible for ordering or conducting such attacks may be prosecuted for war crimes.

Patients, medical staff, aid workers, and other witnesses have provided Human Rights Watch with information about at least 30 attacks on permanent and makeshift hospitals in the combat area since December 2008. One of the deadliest took place on May 2, when artillery shells struck Mullaivaikal hospital in the government-declared “no-fire zone,” killing 68 persons and wounding 87.

Attacks on Hospitals in the Vanni (December 15, 2008 – May 2, 2009)

Information compiled by Human Rights Watch from interviews with aid agencies and witnesses

12/15/08Mullaitivu General HospitalShelling: 2 patients injured, damage to ward and medical equipment.
12/19/08Mullaitivu General Hospital11:30 a.m. Five shells hit hospital causing damage to wards, operating theater, and the Medical Superintendent’s HQ: 2 staff wounded.
12/20/08Mullaitivu General HospitalShells hit inside hospital grounds.
12/22/08Kilinochchi General Hospital6:20 a.m. Aerial bombing hit near hospital, causing shrapnel damage. No injuries reported.
12/25/08Kilinochchi General HospitalShells hit hospital grounds, narrowly missing staff. Damage to newborn nursing section, outpatient department, and reception.
12/30/08Kilinochchi General Hospital4 p.m. Shells hit hospital causing damage to the building. No injuries reported.
01/08/09Tharmapuram Hospital1:20 p.m. Shells hit Tharmapuram Junction 75 m from the hospital, killing 7.
01/13/09PTK Hospital10 a.m. Hospital hit by shells: 1 killed, 6 wounded.  Patients fled to the wards to seek shelter from the shelling.
01/19/09Vallipuram HospitalShell landed in hospital yard: 6 people in out-patient ward injured
01/21/09Vallipuram Hospital7 p.m. One shell hit hospital
01/22/09Vallipuram HospitalMorning. Shells hit hospital compound: killing 5 and injuring 22.
01/26/09UDK HospitalShells hit hospital: 12 killed, 40 injured.
01/31/09PTK HospitalShrapnel from shells hit hospital.
02/01/09PTK HospitalThree attacks. First attack: 1 person injured by shrapnel inside the hospital. Second attack:1 shell hit the hospital: 1 killed, 4 injured. Third attack: 1 shell hit the women and children ward (no casualty information).
02/02/09PTK HospitalOne shell hit hospital: 7 killed, including a nurse, 15 injured.
02/03/09PTK HospitalTwo attacks – operation ward, staff headquarters, and female ward hit. At least 2 killed and several injured,
02/05/09Ponnampalam Memorial HospitalShelling : 60 casualties inside and outside the hospital.
02/09/09Putumattalan hospital (make-shift hospital for PTK)Around 10 p.m., one shell struck about 10 meters east of the hospital compound. No casualties, but the compound wall was damaged by shrapnel.
02/10/09PutumattalanShelling: 16 people killed.
03/16/09Putumattalan hospitalAround 11 a.m. an RPG struck inside the compound, killing two people.
03/23/09Putumattalan hospitalAn RPG hit in front of the hospital; at least one killed (a child); two shells hit close to the hospital, injuring at least 15.
04/09/09Putumattalan hospital and Putumattalan mother and child centerSeveral shelling attacks; 22 killed and at least 300 injured.
04/20/09Putumattalan hospitalHeavy shelling and gunfire attacks during the night; hundreds of civilians injured and at least 13  killed; 2 medical staff sustained gunshot wounds; hospital roof and surgery ward destroyed.
04/21/09Valayanmadam make-shift hospitalAerial attack; 4 or 5 killed; more than 30 wounded; one doctor killed.
04/23/09Mullivaikkal hospitalThree shells hit the hospital; no information on killed/wounded.
04/28/09Mullivaikkal Primary Health CenterHeavy shelling and aerial attacks; at least 6 killed (previously injured patients receiving treatment); 1 member of medical staff injured.
04/29/09Mullivaikkal Primary Health CenterOne shell; 6 patients  killed.
04/29/09Mullivaikkal HospitalShelling; roof of one of the wards significantly damaged; at least 9 killed and 15 injured.
04/30/09Mullivaikkal HospitalShelling: 9 killed, 15 injured.
05/02/09Mullivaikkal HospitalShelling: two attacks, at 9 a.m. and 10.30 a.m.; 68 killed, 87 injured, including medical staff.

  KUMARATHASAN RASINGAM – Secretary, Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Org.

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