Sri Lanka faces a "dramatic and deteriorating" humanitarian crisis caused by the worst violence since the inception of a 2002 ceasefire agreement, the head of a Nordic monitoring mission said on Tuesday.
Heavy battles between Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels since July have killed at least 1,000 and forced more than 220,000 people from their homes in the worst effected north and east.
The recent bloodshed is undermining a 2002 ceasefire deal, worked out after 19 years of civil war that killed 65,000 people, and efforts by Norwegian mediators to initiate fresh peace talks.
Although the most severe clashes have subsided since August, aerial bombings, artillery and mortar shelling, sea battles and individual shootings continue to kill combatants and civilians every day.
"We see a period of the most serious violations of the CFA (ceasefire agreement) since it was created in 2002, with offensive military operations and territory shifting hands," Lars Solvberg, the new head of the Nordic-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, said.
Solvberg, who took over as the head of the mission on September 1, said the organisation created as a peace monitor is effectively "here now to see how massively the parties are violating this agreement."
Amid daily clashes, "the most important issue right now is that we have this void -- that the humanitarian situation is dramatic and is deteriorating day by day," he said.