Britain-based charity Save the Children on Thursday launched an emergency appeal for 2.5 million pounds (2.8 million euros, 3.7 million dollars) to aid children displaced by fighting in Sri Lanka.
The charity said it would use the funds for food, water and other emergency supplies as vast numbers of children and their families moved into government camps after escaping a no-fire zone between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. "These families have lost everything, including their crops and livestock," said Prasant Naik, the charity's country director in Sri Lanka.
"Children will be hugely traumatised by their experiences. Save the Children is already registering some children who have been separated from their parents and we're helping to re-unite them with their families."
Naik added that health was a "major concern," saying: "Children who have recently come out of the no-fire zone appear to be suffering from malnutrition and, if food, clean water and medicine are not provided in time, their health will be deteriorating."
The Sri Lankan military said Tamil Tiger (LTTE) rebels were encircled on Thursday in a tiny strip of land by government troops but were still putting up stiff resistance despite calls to surrender.
According to the army, the guerrillas controlled a mere 10-12 square kilometres (around four square miles) of territory on the northeast coast, where thousands of civilians are still trapped by the fighting.