Emergency medical relief for Nepal earthquake survivors

Posted on: Tuesday, 5th May, 2015

"CBM’s partners in Nepal are providing urgent medical treatment and relief to survivors of the earthquake, which has killed more than 7,000 people and affected over 8 million.

CBM’s partner, Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children (HRDC) provided vital medical care to 133 people at a ‘Disability Relief Camp’ on 2nd May. It took place in Sipagate village in Sindhupalchowk district, one of the areas with the highest number of casualties.

The team, which included two orthopaedic surgeons, two physiotherapists and three nurses, treated people who had suffered injuries during and after the earthquake, as well as those with pre-existing disabilities.

“While we are just setting up the venue and opening the supply boxes, three severely injured victims have already been brought to the camp”, explains CBM’s Ashok Shah, writing an account of the camp for the CBM International blog.

“The first client is Deepa, a young woman with a spinal injury and an arm fracture. She has been carried from a village across the river on a makeshift stretcher, waiting for medical attention since last Saturday. …Her house has collapsed completely and she had to stay in a tent with all her injuries for the last six days.”

“As the medical team continues to attend to clients at the venue, the HRDC bus is sent out to bring more patients from the nearby villages. There isn’t a moment the medical and support staff can have rest as more and more clients keep coming in. There are patients of all age groups, with broken arms and ribs, severe head and spinal injuries, and many with deep cuts to their heads and other body parts.... There are also people suffering from diarrhea, fever, cold and other communicable diseases.”

Of the 133 people treated that day, 13 severe cases were transported to Kathmandu in an HRDC ambulance. Five children with broken limbs, who were provided plaster casts, have been asked to come to HRDC for a follow-up after a week, where they will receive free treatment.

Radhika's story

12 year old Radhika struggles to walk due to severe burn injuries sustained when she was a child. She attended the Disability Relief Camp with her sister Sita and family members. On the day of the earthquake Radhika was about to set off to HRDC to be fitted for a new specialist shoe to enable her to walk.

I could feel the ground begin to shake. Sita carried me on her back to a small open yard, the ground kept shaking, we could see our house collapse right in front of our eyes… we couldn’t do anything to save our house. That night we slept in the open, we didn’t have tents or anything over us.”

“Earlier, when there were wounds in my left foot, I could clean it by myself. But since the house fell down, I have nothing to clean the wound. My left foot started itching a lot and there were some fresh wounds... that day, people were saying there’s a relief camp by HRDC in Sipaghat village. So I requested Sita to bring me over here. I know HRDC for so many years.”

CBM's emergency response

CBM is working with our partners to ensure that emergency relief reaches people with disabilities, who often struggle to access help at times of disaster. Tushar Wali from CBM’s Emergency Response Unit and Ira Largoza, from CBM partner PCCID in the Philippines are in Nepal to provide support to our Country Office staff and share their expertise.

As well as providing emergency relief, CBM’s Emergency Response Unit will remain in Nepal to help our partners and local staff to support, plan and develop long-term programmes that promote the inclusion of disabled people into all aspects of community life such as:

  • Access to health care and rehabilitative services.
  • Access to livelihood programs.
  • Access to education and vocational training.
  • Advocacy to ensure the voices of persons living with disabilities are heard and their needs are acted upon in planning and reconstruction.

Steve Mannion, CBM’s orthopaedic advisor, is also in Nepal as part of a UK Government initial assessment team."

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