IAF flies medical team, aid to Sri Lanka

May 22nd, 2009 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) India Friday dispatched a team of 27 doctors and paramedics to the war ravaged northern Sri Lanka, where the large civilian Tamil population is still reeling under the effects of the civil war.
An Indian Air Force (IAF) IL-76 transport aircraft took off from New Delhi for Colombo Friday morning with the medical team, including a surgeon and a paediatrician.

“The team is also carrying about 30 tonnes of medicines worth over Rs.3 crore (Rs.30 million) to replenish stores at the field hospital run by the Indian armed forces in a camp for the internally displaced persons (IDPs),” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Tarun Kumar Singha said.

Supplies worth another Rs.15 crores (Rs.150 million) will be dispatched to Sri Lanka shortly to provide temporary housing for the IDPs. Assistance is also in the pipeline for demining operations, creation of infrastructure and reconstruction of houses.

India has deployed a self-contained emergency medical unit and hospital in Sri Lanka since March 2009. The 110-bed facility is run by a 62-member team that includes eight doctors and paramedics. It has been operating out of Pulmoddai town on the northeastern coast of Sri Lanka.

The hospital provides urgent medical care to civilians evacuated out of the former conflict zone by the Red Cross. The hospital has so far treated more than 3,000 war wounded and trauma patients.

“In view of the greater requirement in and around Vavuniya, India’s Emergency Medical Unit with Hospital is being shifted to Menik Farm Area Zone 1 near Vavuniya, which has a significant population of internally displaced people in need of medical care,” Singha said.

India has been providing urgent relief assistance to civilians affected by the conflict in northern Sri Lanka. The Indian government has also approved a grant of Rs.100 crore (Rs.1 billion) for humanitarian relief assistance to civilians. The Tamil Nadu government has separately pledged Rs.25 crore (Rs.250 million).

India’s relief assistance so far has included food, clothing, medicines and other essential supplies. Since November 2008, the Indian government has provided 170,000 family relief packs for the population affected by the conflict. The packs include dry rations, personal hygiene items, clothes, utensils and water purification tablets.

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