Ambulance crunch adds to Kashmir’s medical emergency

Ambulance crunch adds to Kashmir’s medical emergency

By NOOR-UL-QAMRAIN | SRINAGAR | 7 August, 2016

With 132 ambulances damaged in Kashmir since the public protests erupted on 8 July, hospital authorities have intimated the government that they are now left with very few ambulances to ferry injured persons to different Srinagar hospitals for treatment and to take doctors and para-medical staff for on-ground duties.

The principal of Government Medical College in Srinagar, Dr Kaisar Ahmad, even appealed to the government to stop CRPF and police from “damaging ambulances”. Reports said that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has taken note of such appeals and that instructions have been given to the police and CRPF not to attack any ambulance. A senior police officer said that the hospital authorities have not lodged any formal complaints against the CRPF and police, and they can act only after a complaint is lodged. “We can act only if they give a complaint to us about the damage of ambulances,” a senior police officer told this newspaper. He clarified that dozens of ambulances were damaged by the angry protesters at many places in the valley.

Transport Head of Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, Riyaz Ahmad Khan, said that they have not lodged the complaints against the CRPF and police as this would create more problems for the drivers of the ambulances on the streets. He said that they have given all the details of how and where the ambulances were damaged.

The hospital authorities are finding it difficult to ferry their staff and doctors and also the injured people to different hospitals. “There is a crunch of ambulances as most of the ambulances are in a very bad shape. The government will have to take a final call on this emergency service and they have been apprised about the problem,” a senior functionary of the J&K Health Services Department told this newspaper. 

The masked militants appearing in the mass public rallies in South Kashmir have appealed to the youth not to attack ambulances and not to indulge in arson while protesting.  Earlier, Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani had asked the youth not to stop any ambulance on the street. 

Meanwhile, Kashmir based doctors have sent memorandum to international health organisations including WHO, informing them about the current crisis being faced in the hospitals. The memorandum has details of deaths and injuries. 

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