Nedunkerni OPD reopens, residents resettle

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 March 2001, 17:36 GMT]
The OPD of the Nedunkerni hospital reopened Wednesday after more than three years, according to reports reaching Vavuniya. The peripheral hospital was mostly destroyed and thousands of families in this Vanni town were rendered refugees overnight when the Sri Lanka army captured the general area of Nedunkerni from the Liberation Tigers in May 1997, during the first phase of Jaya Sikurui, the biggest military operation ever attempted by Colombo. The Tigers retook Nedunkerni, 42 kilometres northeast of Vavuniya, in November 1999. More than a thousand families have been resettled here since January this year after extensive clearing of anti personnel mines (APLM) in the town and its hinterland, government officials in Vavuniya said.

All public amenities and buildings were completely or partly damaged or destroyed when the SLA moved into the area in May-June 1997.

The OPD was reopened to meet the urgent medical needs of the families who have resettled and those who are coming back, according to them. In former times, the Nedunkerni peripheral hospital had male, female and maternity wards, an OPD and a dispensary.

The OPD is has to function in a small section of the dilapidated buildings of the mostly destroyed hospital, sources said. Rebuilding or renovating the hospital or any of its units is well nigh impossible because the government has banned cement and all building material to the Vanni under the decade long embargo on the region.

Officials at the Vavuniya Kachcheri said that Colombo has given the green light for gradually restarting the administrative machinery of the Nedunkerni region in view of the large number of people who have resettled there.

Aid agency sources who had visited the area recently said that thousands of APLMs had to be removed over a large area before large scale resettlement was possible.

 

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