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Medical team sent to Sri Lanka

Special Correspondent

It also carries 30 tonnes of medicines for replenishing the stores at the field hospital

— Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Relief materials for Sri Lanka being loaded on to an Il-76 of the Indian Air Force in New Delhi on Friday.

NEW DELHI: India on Friday dispatched a team of 27 doctors and paramedics to the war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka for helping the Tamil civilians. An Indian Air Force Il-76 left New Delhi for Colombo with the medical team, which included a surgeon and paediatrician.

The team is also carrying 30 tonnes of medicines, worth more than Rs.3 crore, for replenishing the stores at the field hospital run by the Indian Armed Forces in a camp for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), a Defence Ministry release said.

Since March, India has been operating a self-contained emergency medical unit with hospital in Sri Lanka. The 110-bed facility has 62 members, including eight doctors and paramedics. Operating from Pulmoddai on the north-eastern coast, the hospital provides urgent medical care to civilians evacuated from the conflict zone by the International Committee of the Red Cross in ships. The hospital has so far treated more than 3,000 wounded and trauma patients.

In view of the greater requirement in and around Vavuniya, the emergency medical unit is being shifted to Menik Farm Area Zone 1 near Vavuniya, which has a significant number of IDPs in need of medical care.

India has been providing urgent relief to those affected by the conflict. To augment the effort because of the large number of civilians evacuated from the conflict zone, the Prime Minister has approved a grant of Rs.100 crore for humanitarian relief.

The Tamil Nadu government has pledged Rs.25 crore. The government of India is also working on a rehabilitation and reconstruction package for northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

India’s relief assistance has so far included food, clothing, medicines and other essential supplies.

Since November 2008, India has distributed 1.7-lakh family relief packs of dry rations, personal hygiene items, clothes, utensils and water purification tablets.

Two consignments of medicines have been handed over to Sri Lanka. Shelter material, worth Rs.15 crore, will shortly be dispatched.

Further relief in the form of demining, civil infrastructure and house reconstruction is in the pipeline, the release said.

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