Visually handicapped hit by tsunami ignored,
says researcher


"Can you name even a single event or organisation that was dedicated on behalf of the visually handicapped tsunami victims in the aftermath of the catastrophe?; asked Prof. Dr. Aurangzeb Hafi, a world renowned epidemiological researcher.

Addressing the media at the Holiday Inn on Wednesday, he said there were 100 organisations working in Sri Lanka with relief work and about 500 post-tsunami projects were started under their programmes.

"But not even an ordinary event, a single discussion or a documentary was devoted to the visually handicapped caught in the tsunami," Dr. Hafi said.
"In this scenario, Pakistan is the first country to come forward with a complete strategic plan for the visually handicapped among tsunami victims," Dr. Hafi said.
Dr. Hafi who was engaged in several fact finding surveys during the last eight months in the aftermath of the tsunami, has presented his brief summary of Tsunami Child Retardation Risk Assessment and Management Projects (CRRA) and (CRRM) for the attention of higher authorities including WHO and UNICEF.

"In every field of work we have to see who has been left behind. Disabled people are also a part of our society. Raise your voice on behalf of these unborn babies, all under five years and handicapped who can't raise their voice to protect their rights and to save them from the risk of multiple disability in the aftermath of tsunami," Dr. Hafi requested.

E. M. Navaratne Sri Lanka Visually Handicapped Association (SLVHA), President said: "We want to minimise the risk of anyone going blind. At present there are two homes for the visually handicapped in Hambantota and Godawaya. What SLVHA is asking the

  Government is to implement a seperate ministry only for the disabled". SLVHA advisor Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria, Tourism Ministry Secretary, Dr. P. Ramanujam, and SLVHA Vice President Alex Jayawardene were also present.