Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has ordered Mullaitivu District Secretary Rupavathy Ketheeswaran to make arrangements to immediately provide medical assistance to school children who have pieces of shrapnel embedded in their bodies as a result of getting caught to shellfire.
A civil representative had informed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe during a discussion at the Mullaitivu District Secretariat that more than 1,000 war-affected children have shrapnel embedded in their bodies.
Soon after hearing the shocking news, Premier Wickremesinghe had ordered the District Secretary to collect the details regarding those children.
Last year, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Sivasakthy Anandan revealed that more than 1,200 school children were still moving around with shrapnel pieces inside them from the shells fired during the battles in the region.
He added that according to the data collected in 2012, the number stood at 750. However the latest figures say the number has gone up to 1,200.
Most of such school children are from Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mannar Districts. Specifically, the students are mostly from Puthukudiyiruppu and Mullivaikkal areas in Mullaitivu, Nedunkerni areas and from Northern parts of Vavuniya, Madu and Manthai-West in the Mannar District.
The TNA Parliamentarian stressed that these children are psychologically and physically affected due to the war, which had dragged on for nearly three decades.
“A large number of school children in the Vanni had lost their parents in the war and they are severely traumatized,” Ananthan said.
The shrapnel can create various side effects when the children reach adulthood. Parliamentarian Ananthan highlighted that these children have to carry school bags while having these metal pieces in their bodies and even the teachers have noticed their pain.
“Many school children are carrying shrapnel inside their bodies, as they don’t have adequate financial support to obtain medical assistance to remove the shrapnel,” the parliamentarian said.
Ananthan also pointed out that these children with shrapnel inside their bodies often faint and become unconscious in their classrooms and playgrounds.