Tamil diaspora doctors prepared to enter Vanni, demand access

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 February 2009, 15:13 GMT]
Doctors organised in charity and aid organisations in Australia and Norway have urged their foreign ministries, United Nations Secretary General and the ICRC to secure urgent permission from Sri Lankan authorities to facilitate safe passage of their convoy of doctors and medical supplies. Dr. V. Manomohan, the president of Australian Medical Aid Foundation (AMAF) and Dr. T. Sivakanesan, the coordinator of Norwegian Tamils Health Organistaion (NTHO) said Wednesday that their organisations that have rendered medical aid for a long time, especially in the aftermath of Tsunami, have the necessary skills, manpower and resources to engage immediately in the medical aid, given that a safe passage is provided to their medical units.

Dr. T. Sivakanesan, NTHO, Norway
Dr. T. Sivakanesan, NTHO, Norway
The convoy of Australian doctors was prepared to take medicines and equipment for emergency medical treatment that is vital for the care of the civilians in the region.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sivakanesan of the NTHO said it had a medical unit comprising 20 personnel, including doctors and other health professionals, for immediate departure provided a safe passage to reach the civilian area where only 6 doctors are struggling to cope with the humanitarian crises.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon, Mr. Stephen Smith MP, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been requested to secure urgent permission from Sri Lankan authorities to facilitate the safe passage of the convoy of doctors and medical supplies, according to Dr. Manomohan.

Dr. V. Manmohan, AMAF, Australia
Dr. V. Manomohan, AMAF, Australia
Hundreds of wounded civilians are struggling for their lives without medicines as Colombo has refused transportation of medical supplies since December 2008.

The decision by diaspora medical experts comes after Sri Lankan Director General of Health services, Dr. Alit Mendes, confirmed to the BBC on 11 February 2009 that the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health had issued orders to doctors and other health staff to leave Mullaiththeevu district immediately. This order comes despite repeated reports by the ICRC and the UN claiming their local health staff in the conflict zone are overwhelmed and desperate medicines and medical assistance are required in the region.

"When civilians are desperate for help and when the government of a country denies the basic of medical and aid relief to its people, it is the moral responsibility of the international community, especially those in the health profession to fill in the void," said Dr. V. Manomohan.


Chronology:


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