Five thousand dead in Kalmunai, urgent appeal for medicine

[TamilNet, Monday, 27 December 2004, 17:35 GMT]
More than five thousand seven hundred people were killed by the Tsunami waves along the Amparai coast, officials at the Department of Social Services said Monday. However, Dr. Murugesapillai Baghavan, surgeon at the Kalmunai Base Hospital said that at least five thousand bodies of people killed by the Tsunami have been buried in Paandiruppu, Kalmunaikudi, Maalikaikaddu and Karaithivu alone. “We have not received any assistance so far to cope with this disaster. Please get us antibiotics, Anti-tetanus, toxides, infant food, any type of clothing. This is very urgent”, the doctor appealed.

Doctor Baghavan said that there is general panic among the thousands of wounded as the hospital is fast running out of first aid and medicine.

“Virtually everyone in this area is injured. Help us find any assistance before time runs out for the seriously injured, particularly children. We need clothing – any type. We need clean drinking water. Please reach us, help us”, he appealed.

Putrefaction of hundreds of bodies buried in the sands by the retreating tidal wave is posing a major health hazard, the doctor added.

Tamil politicians and local officials from the Tsunami devastated district said that casualties would be higher when rescue workers reach many marooned and remote areas of the region’s coast.

Several Tamil and Muslim villages have been obliterated by the Tsunami. Details of the Tsunami destruction’s magnitude began trickling out slowly on Monday. The devastation in remote region has received little coverage in local and international media since the Tsunami struck its fragile, far flung coastal communities.

“Many villages are unreachable because the main coastal road from Kalmunai to Pottuvil has been ripped apart in places where it runs close to the shore. The two causeways linking Thirukkovil and villages around it are all but gone”, said an NGO worker in the area. Thirukkovil is a large Tamil village by the sea 76 kilomtres south of Batticaloa.

Thampattai, a coastal village between the two causeways across the lagoon’s estuary, which are separated from the sea only by a narrow strip of beach, was wiped out by a huge wave a businessman in Akkaraipattu reached by phone on Monday said.

Komari, another village sandwiched between the lagoon and the sea and linked by two fragile causeways close to the shore, is marooned. “No one has been able to ascertain the death and destruction there. There may be few survivors”, an NGO worker in Thirukkovil said. Komari is about 98 kilomtres south of Batticaloa.

 

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