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Daughter of Biloela refugee family hospitalised

The three-year-old daughter of a Tamil refugee family, Tharnicaa, was medically evacuated to a hospital in Perth, Australia, after being denied treatment by detention centre staff at Christmas Island.

Tharnicaa is suspected to be suffering from a blood infection known as septicaemia. Whilst she will be accompanied by her mother, Priya, her father and sister have been ordered to remain in the detention facility. This is the first time she will be separated from her father, Nades, and her sister, Kopika and she will turn 4 next week.

Home to Biloela reports that Tharnicaa was first taken to a small facility on Christmas Island on Sunday morning despite being ill for 10 days and suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, and a temperature. Her mother had pleaded for medical assistance since Tuesday 25 May. Priya notes, that International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) dismissed her symptoms as simply the common flu and provided Panadol and Nurofen.

"I am feeling very scared and worried for my little girl,” said Priya.

“She has been sick for many days, it took a long time for her to get to the hospital. She is already asking for her papa, it is going to be very hard being away from her Dad and sister. It is very hard for our family to be separated when our daughter is sick.”

When a family friend attempted to visit the family on Christmas Island they were stopped by the Australian Border Force from visiting Tharnicaa. It is understood that there were guards at the public hospital guarding the room of the three-year-old.

Angela Fredericks, a family friend and spokesperson for the Home to Biloela group, commented on the matter stating:

“This is another instance of lack of proper medical care for these little Biloela girls. Tharnicaa has been in detention for almost all of her young life. During that time she has suffered vitamin deficiencies due to lack of sunlight and fresh fruit and vegetables. She later suffered a concussion after an improperly secured whiteboard fell on her head, and was not taken to hospital until hours later when she started vomiting. Now, her needs have been dismissed until she was vomiting and falling over. This is just not good enough”.

She further added:

“If her loving parents were able to access medical services for their children the moment they needed it - as they would in the Australian community -, we would not see these shocking delays. That’s all Nades and Priya want to do for their girls – to care for and protect them.”

The hospitalisation of young Tharnicaa follows years of campaigning for the release of this family. In December 2020, the Australian Medical Association called for the Government to release the family and were in April of this year Australia’s Former Prime Minister further bolstered these calls. Over 360,000 Australians have signed the Home to Bilo petition, started by Biloela locals and close friends of the family.

Read more here.

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