45 children died in Easter Sunday bombings: UNICEF

World Wednesday 24/April/2019 17:46 PM
By: Times News Service
45 children died in Easter Sunday bombings: UNICEF

Colombo: The Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka claimed the lives of 45 children, according to UNICEF.

"The total now is 45 children who died (in the series of blasts in Sri Lanka)," said UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac at a briefing here.

"Many are wounded and are now fighting for their lives in intensive care units across the country," Boulierac added.

"UNICEF condemns this violence in the strongest possible terms. No child should experience such a heart-breaking situation, and no parents should lose their child forever under such horrible circumstances," he said.

According to the spokesman, 27 children died and 10 children were injured as a result of the blast that occurred in St Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo.

In Batticaloa, 13 children lost their lives, with the youngest victim being just 18 months old. Five children aged between seven years and 16 years are currently receiving treatment in hospital.

Five children of foreign nationality are confirmed to have died, and 20 children have been admitted to hospital in Colombo, four of them in intensive care as a result of the blasts in Colombo.

"Many children have lost one or both parents and countless children have witnessed shocking and senseless violence," said Boulierac.

Some hospitals where children were admitted need essential medical supplies and UNICEF is procuring and providing needed supplies.

UNICEF said children separated from parents need support to identify relatives and connect with their families.

Psycho-social support and counseling are also identified as a significant need, and UNICEF said this week it would provide "psyco-social first aid" to children and their families impacted.

UNICEF expressed its deepest sympathy to the victims, families, and communities impacted by the "brutal attacks" on the day of one of the biggest celebrations for Christian believers worldwide, in which 310 people have died so far, and more than 500 others injured.

According to authorities, the overall death toll from the attacks has risen to 359.

Security Apparatus To Be Restructured

In Sri Lanka, authorities also announced a number of measures to end the threat of terrorism in the country.

President Maithripala Sirisena announced that the country's police, Tri-Forces and other branches of the security apparatus would be restructured within a week.

Sirisena said he would take stern action against officials who failed to heed and act on warnings from intelligence agencies from a friendly neighboring country about the threat of an attack.

“The information received from the state intelligence agencies of that country was not passed on to me by relevant officials. If they had done so, I would have taken immediate action. I have decided to take strict action against those who failed in their duty”

Meanwhile, police confirmed that the numbers of those arrested has risen to 60.