Emmanuel Hospital Association dispatched a disaster response team from Delhi to Nepal on Monday, April 27. They have taken in supplies and are working with other agencies in providing medical relief. More personnel will soon be going in. EHA staff in its 20 hospitals has been placed on stand by.
The situation in Nepal is serious and requires significant resources. Current efforts are focused on emergency medical care, shelter, food, and clean water. EHA plans to stay on to address long term issues such as rehabilitation, addressing psycho social issues and disaster mitigation.
EHA’s Duncan Hospital in Raxaul, Bihar, is located only 200 km from the epicenter. Patients from Nepal have crossed the border seeking medical care.
Dr. Christo Philip serves at Duncan Hospital and was working when the earthquake hit. He says,
“….We had several patients brought in immediately after the earthquake with fractures and one with a head injury…The first of the victims from Kathmandu arrived at Duncan Hospital tonight. Two construction workers came with lower extremity fractures sustained when buildings collapsed on them. Their families report many people dying all around them and that very limited medical care is available, which is why they made the 200 km journey to reach Duncan. Unfortunately the devastation farther north of us is tremendous. Please pray for the families of those who have lost their lives and for how we can help.”
Many have asked what can be done. First, pray for EHA’s team in Nepal, especially for wisdom and that bureaucracy will not hinder aid reaching the most vulnerable. Second, join us for the fund raiser or if you cannot you may contribute by sending a cheque to EHA Canada’s Nepal Earthquake Fund.
What Is Happening Now …
Update on Quake Aftermath
Since the initial 7.8 quake hit at about noon on Saturday, April 25, there have been more than a dozen aftershocks with a magnitude of 5 or higher and two dozen between 4.5 and 5. The death toll has risen to over 6,600 and the count of the injured stands at 15,000. More than 4 million people are urgently in need of water, sanitation,and hygiene support, and 2.8 million have been displaced. At least 19 people were killed on Mount Everest where the earthquake triggered an avalanche; the quake also triggered a huge avalanche in Langtang Valley where 250 are missing.
The areas affected the worst are in the districts around the epicenter just northwest of Kathmandu (Gorkha, Dhading, and Sindupalchowk) and conditions are appalling, with limited water, electricity, food, shelter, and medicine. Many are hesitant to enter damaged buildings and are sleeping outside, exposed to the cold and rain. Villagers in outlying areas are even less likely to receive help anytime soon.
What We Are Doing to Help …
EHA’s Relief Actions To-Date
EHA has a well prepared Disaster Management Team, so they immediately sent in two vehicles to two different destinations in Nepal last week. They are distributing supplies, giving medical care, and assessing the needs. Three volunteer doctors are being sent to help the team at Anandaban Hospital at their request.
Two other doctors and another staff member are working with partners setting up a medical camp supported from Duncan Hospital that will reach out to many villages in the Dhading area. Camp staff will identify patients who may be able to make the journey southward to Duncan Hospital in Raxaul, Bihar, North India, if adequate treatment is unavailable locally. A number of quake victims have already arrived at Duncan for treatment.
Supplies are essential, and EHA is sending in tents, tarps, dry food, and blankets in the coming week. Volvo is donating the use of two buses to transport in supplies and bring back patients. Staff at Duncan are working with the recommendations of those in Nepal to purchase the needed medical supplies to send in to the camp where survivors are located.
EHA is also formulating a plan for psychosocial support by training volunteers who will be able to go in and help. They are also planning for a medium-term (six to nine month) intervention for rehabilitation.
EHA’s Experience in Disaster Relief
EHA has been working in areas of disaster relief and mitigation since 1991 though its Disaster management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU). It has responded to cyclones, earthquakes, floods , tsunamis, Asian flu outbreak and ethnic clashes in Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Odhissa, UP and the Andaman Islands. EHA has served internationally in Albania during the Kosovo conflict in 1999. While providing immediate relief, especially in the area of medical care, EHA stays on to address longer term such as rehabilitation, psycho social care and training the local population in disaster preparedness and mitigation.
EHA is a federation of 20 hospitals and 40 community Health projects scattered across North and North East India. EHA has a focus on the poor and marginalized in society. Apart from addressing basic medical and Community Health issues, EHA has been active in such areas such as prevention of human trafficking. EHA Canada supports the work in India by raising funds, sending experts from Canada and generally promoting the work of EHA units.