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U.N. again calls for civilian evacuation

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, March 27 (UPI) -- The United Nations is again calling on the Sri Lankan government and rebels in the north to allow an evacuation of civilians trapped in the two sides' conflict.

John Holmes, U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Thursday called the situation in the northern Sri Lankan war zone "extremely worrying" for an estimated 190,000 civilians trapped between the Sri Lankan army and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the United Nations reported.

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Several organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, have reported that the conditions for civilians are deteriorating with limited supplies and access to food, medicines and safe drinking water.

Holmes reiterated a U.N. call for the Sri Lankan government to avoid using heavy weaponry near civilian populations and for the LTTE to allow a window for the safe evacuation of civilians from the war zone.

"Our first appeal is to the LTTE to let the civilians out in a safe and orderly fashion," Holmes said in a statement.

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