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ICRC carries on evacuation of sick and wounded by sea

[ICRC.org, Monday, 16 February 2009 17:44 No Comment]

icrc A ferry flying the flag of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) left Putumattalan today for Trincomalee with over 400 passengers on board, including patients and accompanying family members.

Upon arrival, the patients were taken to Trincomalee Hospital for treatment. Today’s evacuation completes a phase in an ICRC operation that began on 10 February, when the organization evacuated an initial group of 240 patients from Putumattalan.

"The ICRC was able to take action because both parties granted safe passage to our ship and gave us their active support," said Paul Castella, head of the ICRC delegation in Colombo. Civil and military authorities in Putumattalan, Trincomalee and Jaffna as well as local people were also instrumental in ensuring that the wounded and sick were brought to hospital rapidly. Sri Lanka Red Cross Society volunteers participated in the operation by helping to disembark and transfer the patients.

The ICRC is supporting the Ministry of Health in Trincomalee district as it provides care for this exceptional influx of patients. The organization supplied 150 mattresses and medicine and dressing materials to Trincomalee Hospital. "It is such a relief for the patients to receive care after so many days of uncertainty," said Morven Murchison-Lochrie, an ICRC medical coordinator who participated in the evacuation and later visited the patients, among whom were at least three mothers and their newborn babies.

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