The International Committee of the Red Cross says one of its workers was killed in Sri Lanka Wednesday.

The agency says Sinnathurai Kugathasan was hit by a shell while getting water for his family in a coastal area in the north held by Tamil Tiger rebels.

The Red Cross said it was deeply saddened by his death.

Meanwhile, the chief humanitarian coordinator for the United Nations is warning of a "bloodbath" in Sri Lanka, where the military says it is on the verge of defeating the rebels.

John Holmes is calling for a "humanitarian lull" for the estimated 150,000 civilians trapped along with rebels who are cornered in a small strip of territory in the north.  Holmes says he fears the combatants are gearing up for a final confrontation, putting civilians at grave risk.  His comments are published in an opinion editorial in Wednesday's edition of the British newspaper The Guardian.

Holmes also says aid workers and relief supplies must be allowed into the conflict zone, and civilians must be given a chance to leave the area.

Aid groups have accused Tamil Tiger rebels of shooting civilians who try to escape or forcing them to join their ranks.  They have also accused the Sri Lankan army of indiscriminately firing heavy weapons into the war zone.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.