DMK chief urges PM to rush medical aid to Tamils in Lanka war zone

Brushing aside medical advice to take full rest for four weeks, CM M Karunanidhi urged the PM to take steps to rush medical assistance for the injured and sick Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka's war zone, reports MR Venkatesh.
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Updated on Feb 22, 2009 04:12 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByMR Venkatesh, Chennai

Brushing aside medical advice to take full rest for four weeks after his recent spinal surgery, the DMK president and chief minister M Karunanidhi on Sunday urged the prime minister to take steps to rush medical assistance for the injured and sick Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka's war-zone.

Of the 36,000 Tamil civilians who have moved out to make-shift camps in Northern Sri Lanka since Jan 15, about 10,000 people have been badly wounded in the cross-fire. Others suffered from various
'sickness and diseases', and the situation there was 'critical and alarming' calling for immediate medical intervention, he said in a letter written from his hospital bed to the prime minister seeking his urgent intervention in this.

In a letter faxed to the PMO with copies of it sent to the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the DMK leader said that the international community was deeply concerned about the 'sufferings of innocent Tamil civilians'.

More injured and sick people were expected to 'pour out' into make-shift camps there from among the one lakh Tamils 'still trapped in the war zone,' he said. Providing them medical relief and care required massive infrastructure and logistics.

Karunanidhi said it would hence be 'appropriate' for the Indian government to arrange to send immediate medical assistance on humanitarian grounds to Sri Lanka.

Tamil Nadu was also ready to supplement the Centre's effort by rushing substantial number of experienced physicians, surgeons and para-medical staff with required medicines and equipment to help set up medical camps for the Tamils in relief camps, he said, and urged the prime minister to take up this matter with the Sri Lankan government to "work out the modalities" for early dispatch of medical teams from here. Though confined to bed at the Shri Ramachandra Medical Centre Hospital in suburban Porur, Karunanidhi has virtually converted his special ward into a mini- CM's office, even inaugurating new projects through video-conferencing mode.

In fact, Karunanidhi has been making a record of sorts in the last two days, delivering a speech from his hospital bed after kick-starting such projects through videoconference. To name a few, he inaugurated a new 'grade separator fly-over' on the city's outskirts under the National Highways Development project, inaugurated works on a Rs 369 Crores project to interlink the smaller rivers in South Tamil Nadu at Tirunelveli last evening, and laid the foundation for a new Government Medical College at Sivaganga, the constituency of the Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram.

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