Thailand: One crippled victim gains attention

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The Independent Online
Motala: Celebrity patient

DEEP IN the forest of northern Thailand, the crippled victim of a landmine was operated on over the weekend, watched by thousands of curious spectators.

The 38-year-old female stepped on the landmine along the Thai-Burmese border two weeks ago and has since become a national celebrity, with donations flooding in.

The operation was not an easy procedure. About 30 surgeons had to hoist Motala onto the operating table with a crane and inject enough anaesthetic to floor 70 men. Even so, she nearly came round three times during the three-hour operation.

Motala's plight has caused such a furore because unlike most landmine victims, she has three other legs, large flapping ears and weighs more than three tons. Luckily for her, Thailand boasts the world's only Elephant Hospital. Motala has raised almost pounds 50,000 in donationsand well- wishers flocked to the outdoor hospital. The help she received is in sharp contrast with the fate of thousands of less fortunate human victims oof mines the Cambodian border. .