Health Ministry officials rush to welfare villages
Around 11,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), including a large number of children and pregnant women have fled Mullaitivu and sought refuge in government controlled areas.
High Health Ministry officials have rushed to Vauniya, where eight welfare villages have been set up for the IDPs, the Health Ministry said. The IDPs were suffering from chronic malnutrition and children from bowel and worm diseases, the Health Ministry said.
Director General of Health Services Dr. Ajith Mendis in Vauniya told The Island that emergency health services for the IDPs were being provided as a matter of urgency. 11,000 civilians had already come to the government controlled areas. Most IDPs were malnourished and dehydrated.
He said that around 6000 IDPs in three villages at Chittikulam and about 5000 IDPs in five welfare villages were being treated and two lorries carrying medical supplies had already reached Vavuniya. The IDPs who had been suffering from chronic malnutrition and respiratory tract diseases had been sheltered in Poontholam, Pompamadu Gamini Maha Vidyalaya, the Wanni university and Nellikulam.
Dr. Mendis added that he had already ordered Deputy Director General Public Health Dr. Palitha Maheepala to commence an emergency vaccination programme and mobile medical laboratory with adequate medical laboratory technologists. Worm treatment for children was prioritized Health Ministry Media spokesman W. Wanninayaka said that more IDPs would be expected in the next few hours from Mullaitivu and the basic health facilities would be strengthened. The main objective of the Health Ministry would be to immunise vulnerable groups of children against epidemics and plagues because the IDPs, children and pregnant women fled to the Government controlled areas had suffered untold hardships and dehydration.Meanwhile Secretary to the Health Ministry Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage said that he had already sent a letter to ICRC Chief Paul Castelo refuting the baseless statement made by ICRC. The ICRC had said that the situation among civilians had aggravated. It had also accused the Government for not providing adequate health services to fleeing IDPs.
Dr. Kahandaliyanage made it clear that the Government had taken prompt action to provide necessary health services for fleeing IDPs because the LTTE had refused to release the civilians in the Mullaitivu district. Responsible international organizations like ICRC was supposed to make statements with correct facts and figures in future.