Calls for ‘terrified’ Tamil family detained on Christmas Island to be resettled back in Australia after their three-year-old daughter got sepsis on the remote island
- Advocates are calling for a family detained on Christmas Island to come to Aus
- The Murugappan family are living on the island at a cost of $4,000 a day
- Their three-year-old daughter Tharnicaa has contracted suspected sepsis
- She and her mother Priya were flown to Perth Airport for urgent hospital care
A medical evacuation flight carrying three-year-old Tharnicaa and her mother Priya Murugappan landed at Perth Airport on Monday evening, advocates for the family confirmed.
They said Tharnicaa had been unwell for 10 days and might have septicaemia.
‘I am feeling very scared and worried for my little girl,’ Priya said in a family statement.
‘She has been sick for many days, it took a long time for her to get to the hospital.
Tharunicaa (pictured) has been rushed to hospital in Perth with sepsis and has spent the vast majority of her life in detention
‘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.’
Advocates said Tharnicaa had experienced vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness and a temperature of more than 40 degrees.
They said detention centre staff didn’t take Tharnicaa to the hospital on Christmas Island until Sunday, despite multiple requests from her mother.
The Department of Home Affairs said both the department and the Australian Border Force were committed to the welfare of detainees in immigration detention.
Kopika (left) gets taken to school by guards while Priya stays inside to look after three-year-old Tharunicaa (right) – who has now gone to Perth for treatment for sepsis
Figures released last year showed the government has spent more than $6million detaining the family. Pictured: Priya and Nades
‘Healthcare services for detainees on Christmas Island are broadly comparable with those available within the Australian community under the Australian public health system,’ a spokesperson for the department said in a statement.
‘The ABF facilitates access to nurses, doctors and specialists for all members of the family.’
Family lawyer Carina Ford said it was long overdue for the family to be resettled in Australia.
Priya, Nades and their two Australian-born daughters, Tharnicaa and six-year-old Kopika, have been held on Christmas Island since August 2019 as the government tries to deport them to Sri Lanka, despite a community campaign to let them stay.
Priya and Nades Murugappan and their two young daughters (pictured) are being detained in a demountable building on Christmas Island at a cost of $4,000 a day
They were removed from their home in the rural Queensland town of Biloela and placed into immigration detention in 2018.
The federal government has spent more than $6 million keeping the family in detention for the past three years.
Labor Senator Kristina Keneally said the family should not be in detention.
‘They should be in their community in Biloela,’ she said.
Greens Senator Nick McKim said the family’s treatment had been ‘appalling and disgraceful’.
‘They must be resettled in our community urgently, before any more damage is done,’ he said.