The government has put in place contingency plans for a possible chemical attack by the LTTE against the security forces fighting in the North.
Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva, yesterday, instructed officials to immediately despatch extra health staff, medicines and equipment to the North to face any contingencies that may arise in the event of a chemical attack on the security forces, said ministry spokesman W.M.D. Wanninayaka.
The decision was taken following a discussion held at the ministry and chaired by Mr. De Silva, to draft a contingency plan in the event of a chemical attack on the armed forces, he said.
The discussion was attended by Prof. Ravindra Fernando, acting Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilaka, Dr. Ajith Mendis, Brigadier Sanjeewa Senaratna, Col. N.K.Ariyaratna, Major Ruwan Senatilaka and Dr. Hemantha Benaragama. Mr. De Silva had given instructions to post a special medical team and nurses to hospitals in Vavuniya, Padaviya, Welioya and Mannar, after defence officials pointed out the shortage of human resources to deal with the war situation in those areas. Doctors and nurses serving in the south will be posted for a 10 month period to these hospitals.
Mr. Wanninayaka said that Prof. Fernando had been tasked with giving a special training to medical and nursing staff on chemical and unconventional weapons attacks and medical emergencies arising from such attacks.
Mr. De Silva had added that the government had taken all necessary precautions against an unconventional weapons attack and to prevent the armed forces personnel from falling victim to such attacks.
Last month former LTTE eastern leader Karuna Amman had said that the LTTE might resort to the use of chemical weapons. He had added that experiments done on those lines by LTTE scientists had been successful
Soldiers hospitalized after gas attack
At least sixteen soldiers were hospitalized after experiencing breathing difficulties following an LTTE attack using what was initially believed to be some sort of gas in the Akkarayankulam and Vannivilankulam areas in the Kilinochchi district.
Informed ground sources revealed that on Monday evening troops
of the Task Force 2 in Wanniwilankulam, West of Mankulam were attacked using the gas which caused breathing problems to at least six soldiers.
Last morning, soldiers of the 57 division operating in Akkarayankulam in the Kilinochchi district came under a similar type of attack. At least ten soldiers were admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties.
The Military believes the LTTE may have used a substance similar to Tear Gas for the attack. However, there was no official confirmation about the attack.