In so called ‘No-Fire Zones’ Tamil civilians built makeshift bunkers to seek shelter. Conditions were appalling in the scorching heat, with food and medicine scarce. The area was very densely packed with families sheltering in flimsy tents, digging bunkers where possible in the sandy terrain or constructing them with improvised sand bags stitched out of old saris.
Eyewitness accounts recall Sri Lankan army soldiers throwing grenades in bunkers and deliberate shelling during the final stages of the conflict in 2009.
“I saw a young man who was digging a bunker while my father and I quickly popped out of our bunker to cook food. We went back inside and felt the vibrations of an explosion and then we heard screams. I looked outside and saw the man in flames in front of me.”
“The ground shook badly. Soon dust filled the bunker. Though the bomb had been close; we were not hurt. We stayed in the bunker as we feared another bomb. In fact, another one struck again very close with the same effect.” Witness accounts, ITJPSL Report