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Refugee tide threatens to overwhelm camps in Sri Lanka, says UN | World news | guardian.co.uk

Unicef said today it faced a "human avalanche" of destitute people in Sri Lanka as the country's military entered an established no-fire zone and freed 3,000 civilians trapped between the army and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The UN children's agency has raised concerns that the overcrowded ­internment camps to which civilians have been taken would be unable to cope with the influx of tens of thousands of people fleeing the fighting. Sarah Crowe, of Unicef, said it was facing a "human avalanche" and described the situation as being "on a knife edge".

The Sri Lankan military said it had established new positions across the zone, penning the remaining Tamil Tiger fighters into a smaller area. The remaining rebels ignored a noon deadline to surrender.

The ministry of defence's website claimed that fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTEE) had fired on civilians attempting to cross out of the no-fire zone, while the rebels said 1,000 ­civilians died in a government raid on their territory which the military said freed thousands of noncombatants from the war zone. The military denied the accusation.

Neither report could be confirmed because independent reporters are banned from entering the area.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 05:06:01 PM EST
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