June 16, 2024

By Express News Service

MADURAI: Driven by the need to access healthcare for their five-year-old child with a heart condition, a Sri Lankan Tamil family invested all its savings in making the journey to Tamil Nadu. M Amuthan (32), his wife A Keerthana (29) and their three children arrived at Dhanushkodi on Saturday seeking refuge along with M Gnanajothi (47) and her 12-year-old son.

Marine police rescued both families, hailing from the Mannar region, from the fifth sandbar off Dhanushkodi and sent them to Mandapam camp after an inquiry. Each family had paid one lakh Sri Lankan rupees to be brought to India. They set off from Mannar on Friday night and were dropped off at the sandbar by midnight.

Amuthan said he was a daily wage labourer in Sri Lanka. “With what I earn, I can only feed my family. My daughter suffers from a heart condition. The treatment would cost over 15 lakh Sri Lankan rupees,” he told reporters. Sri Lanka provides free healthcare for its citizens but the health system has been weakened by the economic crisis assailing the country.

Amuthan said the child requires an operation. “I had to earn at least 5000 Sri Lankan rupees a day just to feed the family and for the past month I have not been able to get any work,” he said.“We came to TN hoping to access free medical care for our daughter,” he added. TN commissioner for rehabilitation Jacintha Lazarus said she would look into the issue. So far, 288 Lankan Tamils have arrived in India since March 2022 due to the economic crisis.

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