Nepal Earthquake: An Update

Gift of the Givers Teams have been extremely busy in Kathmandu following response to the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in that country. The first team comprising 43 members arrived on Wednesday, 29 April 2015. This was the Search and Rescue component and an initial small medical component.

Search teams went throughout the city and deep into the rural areas marking out buildings where victims lay buried. The stench of death is starting to become more prominent as the clock ticks away.

In rural areas destruction is almost complete with very few houses standing. Shelter in the form of tents is a huge requirement, desperation increases as the days pass on. The monsoon rains are 5 weeks away. Hunger in distant districts is also a reality, in some areas looting takes place when rescue teams arrive unannounced and without security. People are full of expectation and require huge assistance.

The rescue team drove on treacherous roads, were held up by landslides, got caught in traffic on the mountain edge, death an absolute certainty if the vehicle slightly veers off the road. They had to trek a minimum of two hours, severe rain and uncertainty were all the factors that confronted them but they persevered. No live person was found; many buildings contained multiple bodies and three bodies were seen floating in the river.

The second team of 37 arrived on 1 May with a contingent of 33 trauma specialists. The medical team, like the search and rescue team were warmly welcomed and given total co-operation by Nepalese Authorities. The teams are running 7 theatres in 5 hospitals carrying out major surgical procedures. A primary health care team is touring several mountainous areas, carrying out house visits and doing outreach programmes for certain hospitals. Patients and their families coming from distant rural areas to the city hospital for medical care are hungry. Gift of the Givers is providing two meals a day for the patients and their families. Food parcels for distribution to those in distant areas are being packaged today. A cargo plane carrying urgent medical supplies from South Africa is expected tomorrow. To assist with shelter tent material for 4000 families has been purchased from India.

Very highly specialised surgery is being carried out by our trauma specialists as local doctors pass on complicated cases. All medical supplies and implants required for orthopaedic procedures are funded by Gift of the Givers. People and government facilities are of modest means. There now is a request for skills transfer to train both doctors and medical students. Our specialised wound care nurses are in great demand. The entire paramedic component from the search and rescue team had to augment the medical team as there is a sudden increased demand on our professional expertise.

This is a very demanding and expensive mission as the needs are astronomical. We invite you to sponsor a food parcel at R200 for a family or R300 for tent material for a family tent. General contributions are also welcomed.

Details toll free on 0800786911.