Page last updated at 14:12 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Indian team from Jaipur to help Sri Lanka amputees

By Narayan Bareth
BBC News, Jaipur

Men with Jaipur foot
The 'Jaipur foot' is especially designed for use in developing countries

An Indian charity has sent a team to northern Sri Lanka to provide 1,000 amputees with artificial limbs.

Workers from the BMVSS charity, which makes the so-called "Jaipur foot", will spend a month in the town of Vavuniya.

The Jaipur foot is regarded as the most inexpensive and cost effective artificial limb in the world.

Tens of thousands of people died in Sri Lanka's long civil war and thousands more lost limbs as a result of mines and unexploded ordnance.

Last May Sri Lanka's army defeated Tamil Tiger rebels who were fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils.

'Jaipur foot'

BMVSS, which is based in Jaipur in Rajasthan state, said its team had left India and would arrive in Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Our team left for Sri Lanka today and will reach the island nation on Thursday
DR Mehta,
BMVSS charity

Charity founder DR Mehta said many people had lost limbs in Sri Lanka's conflict.

''The victims require immediate rehabilitation," he said.

Five members of the Indian team themselves are amputees.

Mr Mehta said the charity was also planning to send its technicians to Iraq in the next few days.

The BMVSS charity has provided more than 350,000 people with artificial limbs around the world, including in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Sierra Leone.

The Jaipur foot is made of rubber which is suited to rough ground and allows the user to sit or squat cross-legged.

A Jaipur foot factory has operated for many years outside the northern Sri Lankan city of Jaffna, treating thousands of people.

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