Govt to set up 1,000-bed field hospital for IDPs

The Government is making arrangements set up a 1,000-bed field hospital for internally displaced persons fleeing Mullaitivu, Healthcare Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told The Island.

He said that more and more civilians were found to be fleeing from Mullaitivu and the hospitals were inadequate.

The government will immediately take over the Pulmudai, Chettikulam and Padaviya provincial hospitals to house the sick IDPs, the Health Ministry said.

It said it had decided to obtain 800 of the beds from eight Provinces as a matter of great urgency, because agency which imports hospital beds had run short of beds at the moment.

He said that local doctors, nurses, paramedics, Laboratory Medical Technologists (MLT) and minor staff would be working in the field hospital while the Health Ministry would replenish medical supplies to other emergency care hospitals in Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Anuradhapura Teaching hospitals. The Health Ministry had also placed an emergency order for 100 hospital beds from India for the time being.

A large number of fleeing civilians had been attacked by the LTTE and some had arrived sans legs and hands from Mullaitivu, the Minister said. Some had died on their way to Government controlled areas.

The ICRC had been able to evacuate 2,200 injured civilians from the conflict areas, he said.

The Minister said that at the request of the Government several countries had come forward to donate drugs, medical equipment and ambulances to be used in the North. The LTTE was keeping civilians as human shields to prevent offensives launched by the security forces and the security forces had been instructed to safeguard the lives of civilians as far as possible, he said.

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