Will We Ever Know the Numbers?

UN estimates more than 20,000 civilians were killed in the final government assault on Tamil Tigers during the three-week artillery barrage. The assault by our military on our own has lasted much longer and besides artillery, there has been heavy use of tanks, gunship helicopters, and bombardment by F-16s.

We only know the numbers of the displaced (3 Million-plus) but in Mingora alone, at least 40,000 were trapped there alone. How many of them have died or are dying? God only knows….

But the killing continues…and will continue for some time to come:

Pakistan Video: Analyst warns war against Talibans in Pakistan is far from over

Wounded civilians dying as they flee Pakistan conflict – MSF
By Nita Bhalla – Mon Jun 1, 12:13 pm ET
NEW DELHI (AlertNet) – Civilians wounded in fighting between the army and Taliban insurgents in Pakistan’s northwest are dying as they trek through mountains to reach the nearest hospital, a medical aid group said on Monday….

While the Pakistani army said on Saturday it had captured Mingora, the main town in Swat, it is reluctant to predict how long the operation will continue. The government has started trucking supplies to 40,000 civilians stranded there, but aid agencies remain concerned about a lack of healthcare, food and water.

“A lot of people have been wounded in the fighting but there are no medical services in many areas like Mingora,” said Fazil Tezara, Pakistan head for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Belgium.

“Wounded people are trying to get to the nearest hospital in Timergara (the main town in neighbouring Lower Dir district) but that is a seven-day trek through mountains and people are dying on the way, and their bodies are just lying there.”


Aid workers say many of those trapped in Swat are elderly or wounded people, unable to make the trek through the mountains to safer areas….

‘Thank God it is over’: a town full of corpses begins to come back to life
June 2, 2009
MINGORA, Pakistan: People trapped at home for weeks emerged in search of food at barren shops while corpses lay exposed in the Swat valley’s main city, as a Pakistani official suggested the army offensive against the Taliban in the region could end in days….

“We have been starving for many days,” Afzal Khan said. “We have been cooking tree leaves to keep ourselves alive. Thank God it is over. We need food. We need help. We want peace.”…

International Committee of the Red Cross officials who visited other parts of the valley on Saturday were “alarmed”.

“People have been blocked for weeks,” said a team leader, Daniel O’Malley. “There is no running water, no electricity, and food is scarce. There is no fuel left for generators, and most medical facilities in the district are no longer functioning. Phone lines are down, so people have been cut off from the outside world and are anxious for contact with relatives who fled the area.”


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