Gift of the Givers Respond to Nepal Earthquake

It's regarded as one of the biggest earthquakes to hit Nepal since the Bihar earthquake of 1934, which was 80 years ago.  A combination of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, being very superficial (only 15 km below the centre), a densely populated area of 2.5 million people in the Kathmandu Valley, poor building construction, inaccessible outlying villages, multiple aftershocks greater than 4.5 with one at 6.6, are collectively, factors for a major disaster.  Added to the misery is the relatively low temperatures, continuous rain, limited medical facilities, extended load shedding daily and a country of modest means.  In short, Nepal requires urgent assistance.  A call for international intervention, especially from neighboring countries, has gone out.  India has responded even though it has suffered multiple deaths as the effect of the earthquake was felt in that country.

Gift of the Givers is ready to respond; the restricting factors being the closure of Kathmandu Airport to commercial flights, the availability of visas to a neighboring country and accessibility to Nepal through this neighboring country.  Irrespective, preparations are underway.  Twenty highly qualified search and rescue personnel together with world class technological equipment including the Life Locator, (a machine that can accurately predict the presence of life 10 meters below the rubble in 3 minutes), the search cam, (a camera facility that provides video footage as the team search through rubble), and other relevent equipment is available and ready as an integral part of our response capability.

A highly qualified team of twenty trauma specialists are also on standby.  These include general, orthopedic and maxillo facial surgeons with anaesthetists, emergency medicine intensivists, theatre and ICU nurses, paramedics and orthopedic assistants.  Included is a whole range of highly specialized portable equipment that gives us the capability to function as a fully fledged emergency mobile hospital.  The total package of all equipment and supplies that we intend taking to Nepal is valued at around R5 million.  This excludes all the essential basic items like tents, food, blankets, bottled water and related items that will be purchased in India.  A Nepalese doctor is part of our team.  We welcome other Nepalese medical personnel.

Search and rescue and medical volunteers are welcome to forward us their contact details with a full description of their qualification and experience for us to review in the event we decide to dispatch more personnel.  Write to sooliman@giftofthegivers.org  

Those wanting to contribute can make deposits into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account No. 052278611, Branch code 057525.  Please fax or email deposit slip with all contact details for acknowledgement purposes.  For details contact 0800786911.

Given the logistical difficulties in getting to Nepal, Gift of the Givers in all likelihood will be chartering its own flight to carry it's search and rescue teams, medical personnel, equipment and essential supplies. The flight will serve a dual purpose. All South Africans caught up in Nepal are most welcome to utilise the private aircraft to return home safely. This will be at no cost to any who choose to return in this manner. For details please contact Estelle van Jaarsveld, one of Gift of the Givers Logistics Co-ordinator, on 0832875988. Please pass this message to other South Africans.

For all other details please contact:
Imtiaz Sooliman
083 236 4029

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