Thursday, August 02, 2007

Alcohol and stab victims in an Australian town


The central Australian tourist town of Alice Springs could claim the world record for stabbings, a doctor said on Tuesday.

Chief of surgery at Alice Springs Hospital Jacob Ollapallil said most stab victims were Aboriginal women and almost a third of them were drunk when they were brought in.

"We spend a lot of resources to treat these patients but we are not looking past the surgical department and the emergency department to see what's a cause for these trauma cases," Ollapallil said.

"In all health issues, traumatic injury and death are the most preventable."

Around 2 000 Aborigines live in shacks in Alice Springs, almost all of them relying on welfare.

Alice Springs mayor Fran Kilgariff is trying to restrict the sale of alcohol in one of Australia's heaviest-drinking towns.

"We're prepared to look at anything," she said. "We're prepared to put anything on the table in order to do something about this issue."

The federal government has proposed taking over the running of the squalid town camps, which are set up on Aboriginal-owned land, but local leaders have refused.

Alice Springs, the mid-point in the 3 000-kilometre train or road journey from Adelaide to Darwin, has an unofficial curfew on account of the violence that plagues its 50 000 people.

Alcohol ban for Australian town

Alice Springs sobers up with drinking ban


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