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02nd May 2009 : Video Witness, Dr Shanmukarajah describe brutal Sri Lanka Army (SLA) attack on makeshift hospital at Mullivaaykkaal PDF Print E-mail

02nd May 2009 : Video Witness, Dr Shanmukarajah describes the brutal Sri Lanka Army (SLA) attack on makeshift hospital at Mullivaaykkaal that killed many patients.

Transcript of the Interview in English

00:10 Today, two five 2009 (2 May), during the shelling at our hospital, 63 people were killed and 87 people were injured.

00:27 At our hospital we had more than 400 injured people, and also people with illness and pregnant women. Relative took those with lesser injuries and ran. The staff who remained performed first aid on those who were injured. But some of the staff also ran, it was a unsettled situation.

1:02 On top of that, we are now engaged in the work of removing the dead and cleaning the hospital. But we don’t have enough people for that. This was the last hospital remaining in the Mulliyavalai area to provide first aid and basic medicine, but now that is in a dire situation. We are in a position of being unable to provide the needed service, medicine to the people.

1:30 QUESTION: Before the hospital was attacked did you provide the location of the hospital to the Sri Lanka Defence Department?
1:38 Yes. Three days before … This hospital has been here for the past two months, with the Mullaitheevu District General hospital moving here two months ago. Later after Matalan hospital was affected, our hospital became the main one. The Sri Lankan Health Ministry was informed of this and of our location.

2:09 Separately, three days ago, through the ICRC, the location of the hospital was ‘fixed’ and sent to the Sri Lanka Defence Ministry, our Defence Ministry.

2:27 Within 2 hours of sending the information, 9 people lost their lives in the first shelling. You know this. Three days ago, 9 people lost their lives. This is the second time the hospital has been attacked, the second attack on the hospital. 

2:44 QUESTION: Apart from this hospital, any other hospitals in this area …

2:48 In this area, there is another hospital about a kilometer away from here. That is also a hospital of this district, currently it is operating here. That is operating as an outpatients area. There are no treatment or surgical facilities there. Also there are no facilities to look after patients there.

3:09 We are now pushed to the situation of not knowing what to do. We don’t know how to provide the medical care to the people.

3:19 QUESTION: This hospital, Mullaitheevu District Hospital, has been displaced to many other locations in the past and has been attacked in those places too. Tell us about that.

3:29 Yes, you know that in the beginning our hospital was in the Mancholai area as a great hospital. There was an artillery attack in the Mancholai area on the eighth month, eighth day (8 August). After that during the twelfth month this hospital was displaced and located in the Vallipuram area. There on 22nd day, first month (22 January) 2009 we were subjected to an artillery attack in which patients and staff died. Then we moved to the Thevipuram area and in shelling on the 2nd, this hospital was damaged. Then

(Break in filming)

4:10 Second month, fifteenth day (15 February) this hospital moved to the Mullivaikal area. After that move, this is the third time – in the beginning there was a shelling, then three days ago there was a shelling, then the current shelling – for the third time, the hospital has been attacked, in the Mullivaikal area.

4:29 QUESTION: Are the patients who are here, that is the injured ones, continuing to receive treatment here?

4:33 Yes, currently we have performed first aid on those who received the worst injuries and are making arrangements for further surgical treatment. An emergency treatment is occurring at the moment, but there are plenty more people with injuries to their stomachs, or lesser injuries. To some extent, the staff are looking after them and we are making arrangements for them.

4:56 We are looking at people with slight injuries, treating them and sending them back to the tents they call home and telling them to come back for further treatment.

5:03 QUESTION: What is the current situation – has the attack stopped or is it continuing?

5:07 Even after the attack stopped, there were many shellings in the surrounds of the hospital. This still has not stopped.

5:14 QUESTION: The Sri Lankan forces have attacked hospitals many times. As a medic what can you say about this?

5:23 This is an occurrence that does not happen anywhere in the world. Hospitals are attacked first. I think the reason for our hospital is continuing to be attacked is that it causes more distress for the people. Also, we have informed people like the ICRC, UK about the attack on the hospital.

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