Sri Lanka

By some miracle, I had managed to avoid being forced to join the rebels and in early 2009, it became clear that the Tigers were fighting a losing battle. Some days shelling was relentless. We went out when it seemed clear and dragged pieces of neighbours bodies into shallow graves. By that time my daughter Thrisha was 9 and at times like this she was told to stay inside. Lathika and I didn’t want her to see dismembered friends. So together, Lathika and I along with other survivors collected what was left of the people we had lived with our whole lives.

One night, our house was hit by a shell. I woke up in hospital some weeks later. The smell was disgusting and I was sleeping on the floor with other patients. The hospital had been shelled twice and it was missing an entire wing, leaving many of us packed into storage rooms and operating theatres because there was no room. I have heard horror stories about what had to be done to Tamil patients without anesthetic and medicine. While I was there, the hospital was shelled another three times. It was clear that this was a deliberate target of the Sri Lankan armed forces.