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Indian doctors tenure in Lanka extended

world Updated: Aug 03, 2009 00:50 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
Indian docs and former army men on de-mining duty

The tenure of a group of Indian doctors working among the displaced Tamils in refugee camps has been extended by two months.

Indian doctors, mostly from the army’s medical corp, have been working among refugees since the beginning of March, more than two months the war between the LTTE and the Lankan army was over.

Currently, the doctors run a field hospital in a camp in Vauniya where the largest almost 2.5 lakh of the 2.83 lakh refugees were housed. This was the third extension granted to the field hospital unit

"The field hospital unit has a 60-member medical team comprising surgeons, pediatrician, medical specialist and lady medical officers. The team so far has already treated over 21,000 internally displaced Tamil civilians including cases of gunshot wounds, trauma, head injuries and those related to general surgery and orthopedics at Manikfarms camp at Vavuniya,’’ the Indian defence ministry said on Sunday.

A 30-member armed forces medical team from India arrived in Colombo on July 23 to relieve the medical personnel already there since March, this year.

Not only Indian doctors, a team of 80 retired Indian soldiers are reaching Sri Lanka to join the ongoing efforts to clear the thousands of anti-personnel mines planted across north and north-eastern Sri Lanka.

According to news agency IANS, while 50 of the latest batch of Indians are attached to the Pune-based Horizon Group, 32 are from Sarvatra Technical Consultants, a company that is based in Gurgaon, Haryana. Sarvatra will send 32 more men.

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s most heavily mined areas. There are no precise estimates about the number of mines the military and the LTTE buried in the island’s north and east over the past quarter century.

From 2003, according to IANS, Horizon and Sarvatra have been funded by Norway in the de-mining operations in the wake of an Oslo-brokered ceasefire. The ceasefire collapsed but the de-mining work has continued.