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Indian contingent at UNIFIL launches Jaipur Foot project

The project has been launched to aid victims of landmines in Lebanon.

india Updated: Apr 16, 2007 12:57 IST

The Indian Contingent at the United Nations Interim Force for Lebanon (UNIFIL) has launched the 'Jaipur Foot' project to aid victims of landmines and cluster bombs in last year's war in southern Lebanon.

Over a hundred victims are likely to benefit from it free of cost.

"The project involves free medical examination and fitting of the indigenous artificial limb on over 100 Lebanese nationals who have been painstakingly identified by INDBATT-9 over a period of 2-3 months", Major Sumit Sharma, spokesman of the Indian contingent said.

"The project is being funded by Arab Finance House as a result of which all victims are being provided this facility totally free of cost," Sharma added.

Last year, the 15 Punjab Infantry Battalion serving in the UNIFIL had provided 22 victims of war with the artificial limbs and it drew positive response due to its light weight and effectiveness.

A member of the Lebanese Parliament, Ali Oseiran, took keen interest in locating sponsors for funding the project for the benefit of those who lost their limbs in mines and cluster bomb explosions.

Five technicians from the Jaipur Foot Foundation would be stationed in Lebanon to carry out the project, Col Mahavir Singh (Retd) of the foundation said during the inauguration of the project.

The Indian contingent has been carrying out a series of humanitarian assistance activities in southern Lebanon under the UN mandate in the leadership of Brig Gen Jai Prakash Nehra, Deputy Force Commander of UNIFIL, and the commanding officer of the contingent, Col Advitya Madan.

Given the excellent rapport between the Indian contingent and the locals, UNIFIL has sanctioned 50,000 USDs for four 'Quick Impact Projects' through the Indian Battalion.

In cooperation with two local NGOs, Al-Makassed and Al Khyan, 15 Punjab conducted two multi-specialty medical camps for the population of South Lebanon recently.

Specialist doctors were especially arranged from Beirut to provide medical advice to the local population.

One of the most visible and popular form of social interaction initiated by the force is Yoga classes, in which school children from Al Fradiss area have shown great interest.

A series of Indo-Lebanese cultural exchange programmes were also organised by the battalion with the talented Sikhs amusing locals with their mastery over 'Dabki', the folkdance of Lebanon. Computer classes, English speaking classes for school children, Basic automobile engineering classes for the farmers, first aid cadres, and daily medical, dental and veterinary camp are some of the other ongoing humanitarian projects being carried out by the Indian contingent in southern Lebanon.

In appreciation of these programmes, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, paid a special visit to the contingent recently during his trip to the Middle East.

First Published: Apr 16, 2007 12:37 IST