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Sri Lanka: ICRC staff member killed in the conflict area

05-03-2009 News Release 48/09

Geneva/Colombo (ICRC) – In the afternoon of 4 March, a staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was severely injured by shrapnel just north of Valayanmadam, in the coastal area of the territory held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

He later succumbed to his injuries at the makeshift medical facility in Putumattalan.

" We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of our dear friend and colleague Vadivel Vijayakumar, and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends, " said Anthony Dalziel, the ICRC's deputy head of delegation in Colombo. " We also hope that his nine-year-old son, who was injured in the same incident, will receive the medical treatment he requires and soon recover from his injury. "

Mr Vijayakumar was married with three children. He began working for the ICRC on a short assignment in 1997. Since 2004 he has held a permanent position as a water technician. In recent days he was involved in ICRC-facilitated medical evacuations, helping to bring patients from the makeshift medical facility in Putumattalan to the beach and then on to the ICRC ferry for evacuation to Trincomalee.

The ICRC continues its essential activities to help conflict-affected people throughout the country.

For further information, please contact:
  Sophie Romanens, ICRC Colombo, tel: +94 11 250 33 46 or +94 777 289 682
  Sarasi Wijeratne, ICRC Colombo, tel: +94 11 250 33 46 or +94 773 1588 44
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02