Published: May 19th 2009May 19th 2009
Patients lying in makeshift shelters
You can see a doctor tending to one on a mat on the floor
An update on the situation in the Kurunegala hospital. A sincere thank you to those of you who have sent money already and to those of you who are in the process of collecting. It is a relief to us to be able to do something practical to help relieve a little of the suffering. I took a couple of photos at the hospital this morning but it felt intrusive to dwell on the individual suffering. The ward was full beyond capacity after the first few arrivals and patients now cover every available piece of ground, the lucky ones with mats and shade. Today I delivered a large box of medicines and tomorrow I will be going back with a water mattress and bags of baby clothing, feeding bottles, reading books and drawing materials for the younger children (thanks Dad, Anne, Kirsten and Gareth). All around us people are celebrating the end of the war and the rumour that the body of the LTTE leader has been found. There are flags on every house and vehicle and fire crackers every few seconds. It is hard to be in celebratory spirit though when the effects of the conflict are so obviously unresolved
and the suffering still rife.
My days are now divided between the longer term development work and doing what little I can for the immediate needs of several hundred evacuee patients. I am a drug runner (the hospital phone the pharmacy and place an order which I then pay for and deliver), personal shopper and children’s entertainer. Not a bad days work really. I will keep you updated with events.
Town was jubilant and triumphant yesterday with gangs of men in the back of trucks waving flags, drumming and shouting, flags and banners hung from buildings, roundabouts and all manner of vehicles from buses and lorries to tuk tuks and bikes. People were cheering and everywhere there were firecrackers from which we seem to be the only ones flinching. The president is addressing the nation at 09:30 this morning and there is an expectation that tomorrow will be declared a public holiday. Many people are also expecting to see the body of the LTTE leader. Emotions run high, most people seem to have lost someone to the organisation, for example the principal of the primary school’s brother in law was shot in the back of the head by them.