Irrespective of the temporary closure of the Omanthai entry/Exit point, consequent upon the ICRC pull-out from their service citing security concerns on Tuesday (1), troops at this cross-loading point continue to facilitate the movement of seriously-ill Mullaittivu and Kilinochchi districts-based Tamil patients bound for Vavuniya or Anuradhapura hospitals.
At about 4.30 p.m. on Friday (4), two ICRC officials showed up at the Security Forces-held southern entrance at the gateway and received four patients, including three women, being taken to be admitted to Vavuniya hospital for surgery and emergency treatment after they were brought from un-cleared areas.
On arrival of the ICRC officials, the troops opened their southern entrance and received those patients into the ambulance, sent from the Vavuniya hospital for transport along with one female nursing attendant.
On Thursday (3) troops at the Entry/Exit point acting in the same manner accepted eleven critically ill patients from those un-cleared areas in the presence of the ICRC. Those patients were accompanied by five nursing staff and attendants. Just a few hours after the ICRC withdrawal, troops facilitated the movement of three more critically sick patients for admission to Anuradhapura hospital on Wednesday (2). Those patients were assisted by three female nursing assistants.
Within the last three days alone after the ICRC episode, troops have thus coordinated the transport of 18 terminally ill patients from un-cleared areas into the government controlled areas, despite the temporary closure still in effect. Nine members of the medical staff have accompanied those patients on all three days.
Courtesy: SL Army