Queensland girl detained on Christmas Island seriously ill

·News Reporter
·2-min read

A Queensland toddler detained on Christmas Island with her family for more than 20 months has been flown to Perth with a suspected blood infection.

Tharnicaa, 3, the youngest of the Murugappan family, from Biloela in Central Queensland, was medically evacuated to Perth on Monday, according to the HometoBilio campaign.

The little girl has been accompanied by her mum Priya. Her older sister Kopika and her dad Nades remain on Christmas Island in detention.

“Tharnicaa had been unwell for 10 days, including vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, and a temperature reaching over 40 degrees,” the campaign said in a statement.

Tharnicaa Murugappan, 3, pictured with her sister Kopika in a hospital bed.
Tharnicaa Murugappan, 3, has been hospitalised with a suspected blood infection. Source: Twitter/ HometoBilo

She was hospitalised on Christmas Island on Sunday. It is believed she has septicaemia, HometoBilo said in its statement.

Advocates claim she fell ill on May 25.

Her mum said in a statement “it is going to be very hard” for her to be away from her dad and sister.

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

"She has been sick for many days, it took a long time for her to get to the hospital."

Family friend and campaigner Angela Fredericks said the toddler’s medical needs “have been dismissed” after the family sought treatment for Tharnicaa for days before she was eventually hospitalised.

“This is just not good enough,” Ms Fredericks said.

More than 360,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for Tharnicaa’s family to be released from Christmas Island.

The family, who are asylum seekers from Tamil, were removed from their Biloela home in 2018 by immigration officials trying to deport them to Sri Lanka. They have been held in detention on Christmas Island since August 2019. 

Tharnicaa and her sister were both born in Queensland.

A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia in a statement the department is "aware of the medical evacuation of a minor from Christmas Island to a hospital in Western Australia".

“The Department and ABF (The Australian Border Force) are committed to the welfare of the detainees within Australia’s Immigration Detention network," the spokesperson said.

“Healthcare services for detainees on Christmas Island are broadly comparable with those available within the Australian community under the Australian public health system."

“The ABF facilitates access to nurses, doctors and specialists for all members of the family.

“For privacy reasons, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

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