Humanitarian support in Jammu and Kashmir

Appeal by theConcerned Citizens Collectivefor support for a Humanitarian Intervention in Jammu and Kashmir in response to plight of civilians, in particular children, facing a serious medical crisis.

We are aware that during past five months, in the stone pelting by agitators and counter fire by security forces in Kashmir, many children have suffered serious injuries from pellets and shelling in Kashmir. A large number of minors are suffering extensive injuries, including disfigurement, eye injuries and some blinded for life. Children and their families are suffering from psycho-social trauma in a context where the very limited psychiatric facilities are already strained.

According to the report of an all India fact finding team consistingtwenty-five citizens representing people’s movements, womens organisations, trade unions, human rights groups, journalists, writers and filmmakers, who visited Kashmir from 11 to 20 November 2016,

“In the last 135 days, over 102 unarmed civilians have been killed; more than 15,000 people have been injured in pellet firing and shelling, of which around 7,000 are cases of severe injury. A majority of those who have been injured are young and many are minors.”

Local groups and organisations are already engaged in health care work and have conducted medical camps at Tral, Shopian, Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Old-town Baramulla, Sopore, and Palhalan.According to their assessment, the entire medical infrastructure of J & K is under severe stress in coping with both the extensive injuries, disfigurements, and blindings, as well as other medical needs such cardiac, pulmonary, and pediatric complications.

This is an urgent appeal for experts in ophthalmology, cardiology, pulmonology, endocrinology, pediatrics, orthopedics, and psychiatry to offer their services for as much time as they can to supplement the meagre facilities available in J&K.

Donations ofmedicines and equipment (jaw plates, antibiotics, anti-allergic, antidepressants, pain relievers, cough syrups, hypertensive drugs, penicillin, mutli-vitamins, iron and folic acid pills, gastro-intestinal medicines, general medicines related to BP and diabetes) would also be greatly welcome.

Efforts are being made to diagnose gaps and remedies for theophthalmologicalinfrastructure of the state. Also to be determined is the appropriate design for a community based psycho-social care intervention. A humanitarian delegation will be visiting the Kashmir valley in early December to map thehuman cost borne particularly by children, youth and women, and to develop the scope of an appropriate medically oriented humanitarian response.

Dr Srinivas Murthy, an experienced conflict counselor formerly associated with WHO, has kindly agreed to help with this initiative. Dr. Mathew Verghese, formerly Director of St Stephens Hospital Delhi and Dr. Shobna Sonpar, a clinical psychologist with experience in conflict related trauma, have indicated their support for this effort. We have also received encouraging response from doctors from different states including senior doctors in government service who have indicated their willingness to participate in this initiative in their personal capacity.

We appeal to you to contribute in cash and kind as well as volunteer for providing the urgently needed medical, mental health and social support to the beleaguered people in Kashmir.
organisations working for communal harmony in India and peace in South Asia.

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