The mass of Tamil women and children struggling to walk out of Sri Lanka's war zone were so emaciated that an aid worker thought he was seeing a horror movie.
Some of them had become so thin that their bones could be seen under the thin layer of fleshless skin. They were in bloodstained, dirty and torn clothes that had not been washed for several weeks.
Many had untreated festering wounds. Some were so sick that they could not stand on their feet. At the first opportunity, they collapsed on bare earth.
Barring a few who were willing to speak, most were too weak to even utter a few words. When they did, they had only one wish: water.
And they were famished. Most of them had not had a proper meal for a long time. Their eyes begged for food.
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Image: Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil civilians wait for registration at a transit camp in Omantai, in Vavuniya, about 230 kilometers north of Colombo, on April 22, 2009.