Sri Lanka hails Indian medical aid to war displaced

May 4th, 2009 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, May 4 (IANS) Sri Lanka has hailed neighbouring India for providing urgent healthcare assistance to thousands of civilians fleeing the island’s northern war zone where the troops and the Tamil Tigers are locked in a fierce battle.
Visiting the Indian field hospital at Pulmoddai in the eastern port city of Trincomalee, senior presidential adviser and legislator Basil Rajapaksa Sunday said Sri Lankans would “never forget how India came to the assistance of civilians who were affected by LTTE atrocities”.

Nearly 200,000 people have fled the war zone and come to the government-controlled areas since the beginning of this year. They have been temporarily housed at refugee camps and welfare centres in the northern Vavuniya town.

According to reports, the 62-member Indian medical team, including eight doctors, treated more than 10,000 civilians since March 12 at the field hospital, which is equipped with all modern facilities including surgery theatres.

Basil Rajapaksa, who is the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has said the programme launched by India to provide urgent medical assistance to the war-displaced “has achieved tremendous success and India deserves the commendations from all segments of Sri Lankan society”.

“The Indian medical team has made the (Sri Lankan) security forces’ mission to free innocent civilians from the clutches of terrorists easier,” the state-run Daily News has quoted Basil Rajapaksa as saying.

Accompanying Rajapaksa to the Pulmoddai hospital, Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad said the full fledged mobile hospital set up by India was aimed at promoting health facilities for the displaced civilians.

“The hospital has been able to cater to the medical needs of all civilians brought to Pulmoddai by ship. This hospital symbolises how India is concerned for its neighbour, Sri Lanka and the people,” the Indian High Commissioner has been quoted as saying.

India Thursday handed over its second consignment of 900 tonnes of humanitarian relief assistance to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to be distributed among thousands of war-displaced civilians in the north.

The Sri Lankan military say that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which had been fighting to carve out a separate state in the northern and eastern region of the island nation over a quarter century, has now been cornered into a small coastal land strip of less than ten square kilometres where they were “facing an inevitable defeat”.

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