Aid Begins to Arrive in Nepal After Deadly Quake

Originally posted in VOA by Steve Herman, Anjana Pasricha

KOLKATA, INDIA — International rescue and relief teams are converging on Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, even as hopes fade that more survivors will be found in the aftermath of a massive quake Saturday that has claimed more than 3,700 lives.

The capital’s airport was so congested with military planes attempting to land that a flight carrying 70 members of Japan’s national search-and-rescue team circled futilely and eventually had to be rerouted to Kolkata for refueling. 

Continue reading Aid Begins to Arrive in Nepal After Deadly Quake

Iran earthquakes leave hundreds dead

Iran earthquake

Rescue teams search for victims in the earthquake-stricken village of Varzaghan in East Azarbaijan. Sixteen thousand people have been given emergency shelter. Photograph: Handout/Reuters

Overcrowded hospitals in north-west Iran struggled to cope with thousands of earthquake victims on Sunday as rescuers raced to reach remote villages after two powerful earthquakes killed nearly 300 people.

Thousands huddled in makeshift camps or slept in the street after Saturday's quakes in fear of more aftershocks, 60 of which had already struck. "I saw some people whose entire home was destroyed, and all their livestock killed," Tahir Sadati, a local photographer, said by telephone. "People need help, they need warm clothes, more tents, blankets and bread."

The worst damage and most casualties appeared to be in rural villages around the towns of Ahar, Varzaghan and Harees, near the major city of Tabriz.

Close to 300 people were believed to be dead with 2,600 injured, Ahar's local governor told the semi-official Fars news agency.

 Link to the video

Reuters & Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai
, Sunday 12 August 2012 16.42 BST


Bringing help and hope to Charsadda

Entry republished with permission by UM Healthcare

Date: 13 Aug 2010
Place: Villages Totakai & Gunbatay,
Tehsil: Tangi
District: Charsadda.
Team: CDRS (paramedical staff) and UM Healthcare Trust (Dr. Qasim and paramedical staff)

Today’s camp was directed at medical and relief activities in Village Totakai which lies in District Charsadda.  Charsadda has been the worst hit district in the recent monsoon floods. According to government sources 60% of the local population has been affected, putting the figure at around 700,000 affectees. Part of the reason for theses staggering numbers is Charsadda’s geography. The district is flanked by three main rivers; Kabul River, Swat River and River Jindi. These rivers then merge south of the district and join the Indus river. Although this makes it one of the best irrigated and most fertile areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, it also renders the region vulnerable to flood waters. River Jindi particularly, broke its banks and affected a large area around Tangi Tehsil.

There has not been much improvement in the situation yet. People are still awaiting relief even 2 weeks after the floods caused massive devastation to their houses and crops. Although flood waters have receded, it will take a long time to rebuild the area and rehouse the displaced people. Most of the scenic villages along the river banks now lie in ruins.

UM Healthcare and CDRS joined forces to provide relief to yet another village in Charsadda, called Totakai. It lies in Tehsil Tangi, which was particularly hard-hit. Many houses and boundary walls lay in ruins. We had already established our field office at the beautifully designed haveli (mansion) of Dilawar Khan, a landlord of the area, where we had stored supplies of medicines for onward distribution. We left early and had arrived at the camp site by 9 in the morning. The camp was at the place of a local elder, M Zeb Khan. His house is situated in the center of the village Totakai and refugees living with host families were quickly informed of our arrival. By noon we had treated 118 patients, mostly women and children.

Continue reading Bringing help and hope to Charsadda

Two more Medical Camps in Charsadda

Entry republished with permission by UM Healthcare

Date: Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Village:   DAANG KALAY
TEHSIL  :   Tangi
District    :   Charsadda

On Wednesday, our team went to the Daang kalay village. Our team comprises two doctors (Dr. Haidar Ali & Dr. Naveed) and two paramedics from CDRS.  We saw a total number of 160 patients there, which were mostly males, and mainly skin diseases, respiratory infections, and gastroenteritis all caused by dirty stagnant flood water. The majority of people in the area also suffer from dehydration due to the hot weather and lack of clean water supplies.

In one case, a young female presented to Dr. Naveed with fungal dermatis which was worsened due to the constant water.  She was advised of preventive measures and given anti-fungal oral and topical treatments.  Similarly, a young man presented to me complaining of dizziness, vertigo and diarrhea. We found his blood pressure to be very low and treated him with medicines and fluida via i/v.

 Additionally, we delivered water purification tablets to the people and also vaccinated people against typhoid, cholera, and influenza.

Date: Thursday, August 12, 2010

TEHSIL  :   Tangi
DISTT    :   Charsadda

Thursday was the 1st day of Ramadan, and our team went to the village of Beyar Ggarhi which was affected by flood waters on the 1st of  August.   After 13 days we were the first medical team to have reached there.  The whole of the village was damaged by the flood except, luckily, the mosque.  We found that all of their water wells were full of mud, streets were full of bricks and debris of damaged walls.

Continue reading Two more Medical Camps in Charsadda

Three partners, Three camps at Nowshera

Entry republished with permission by UM Healthcare

Date: 7th Aug 2010
Site: Nowshera city & nearby village Badrashi
Partners: UM Healthcare, DMC & DRIP and CDRS

UM Healthcare partnered with Disaster Management Centre (DMC) Abbottabad, Disaster Relief by Irish and Pakistanis (DRIP), and Comprehensive Disaster Relief Services (CDRS) for a combined medical camp in Nowshera. This camp was aimed at vaccinating and treating those flood affectees who had not been targeted by a medical team before.

DMC Abbottabad works in collaboration with DRIP, under the direction of Dr. Noaman Siddiqui, and has combined efforts with UM Healthcare during the Internally Displaced Pakistanis (IDPs) crisis last summer.  The two relief camps in May and June 2009 of that both organizations did together developed a rapport between the staff members and also enabled us to help more IDPs than each organization could have independently.

Thus it was natural to enlisted DMC’s help in reaching out to a maximum number of flood affectees in Nowshera this month.  A couple of days earlier, UM Healthcare had provided medical treatment to residents of Christ Church Educational Centre in Nowshera, which has become home to about 20 flood-displaced families. Despite having a place to stay, they had not received vaccinations against epidemic diseases that have surfaced during this crisis.

Today, the  team returned to Christ Church Educational Complex for a vaccination campaign.  The DMC team consisted of  Dr. Noaman and trained paramedical staff was together with UM Healthcare team and Mr. Todd Shea and Dr. Shahid of CDRS.  Dr. Noaman’s team had brought along an ambulance filled with medicines, food items, vaccines, bottled water and hygiene items, and the vaccines (against Tetanus and Typhoid) were generously donated by Dr. Noaman.  This time, due to the rain, we set up our armamentarium inside the school premises and vaccinated a total of 85 patients in about 2 hours.

Continue reading Three partners, Three camps at Nowshera

CDRS & UM Healthcare treat patients in Charsadda

Entry republished with permission by UM Healthcare

Comprehensive Disaster Response Services and UM Healthcare Trust joined hands together to set up the first flood relief camp in Tangi, in the Charsadda district.

Todd Shea of CDRS and Atif Mumtaz of UM Healthcare Trust, together in our joint medical camp

The devastation in Charsadda is one of the worst we have seen so far. Complete villages have been wiped out, roads, bridges and barrages have been obliterated by the fast moving flood water. Little help has reached this region and people are still suffering. The water current was so fast that it even destroyed complete barrages built on the rivers to control the flow of water. Where once brick and mortar buildings including government schools and residences of hundreds of people stood, now only the debris litters the flood land.

Dr. Naveed treats a patient

Dr. Naveed treats a patient

The team consisted of a medical doctor (Dr. Naveed) from UM Healthcare assist by CDRS medical team that consisted of two EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) and one O.T. (Operating Theater) technician.

Continue reading CDRS & UM Healthcare treat patients in Charsadda

Medical Camp at Saint Mary

Entry republished with permission from UM Healthcare

Today we established a camp at Saint Mary’s Secondary School in Risalpur by invitation of Reverend Riaz Mubarik from Abbottabad. Saint Mary’s school is situated next to the beautiful Saint Mary’s Garrison Church, Risalpur. Although there were obstacles initially in getting in and establishing the camp (mostly administrative permissions etc from security forces), once we set up camp we got the real picture of our work ahead.

This was one of the cleanest camps we had seen so far because it was inside the cantt. It was well maintained and had a water supply for the IDPs. There was a mix of both Christian and Muslim community living in the school which has been made into a makeshift IDPs Camp. The residents here are mostly from the Ganderi village of Nowshehra which suffered the highest devastation by the flood waters. There are also a few IDPs from Nowshehra city who have found refuge here. One of the patient’s husband has been missing for the past 5 days.

Rashid draining a palmar abscessThe school now houses a total of about 230 affectees. The staff and administration of the school and church were very co-operative.

The UM Healthcare team visited the site yesterday for a needs assessment, and learned that that they had not been visited by any health or relief team untill then; either from the public or private sector. I promised Reverend Javed Stephen that we’d return with water and medicines. Today when our team arrived, they welcomed us and told us that although a few people had arrived and taken pictures of their camp, no one had returned as promised- and we were their first relief group.

We set up Camp in class 10 of St. Mary’s school just beside the office of the Principal, Mr. Tahir Anjum. He facilitated us with the provision of beds for patients and in the registration process. Started off at noon due to delays initially in securing permission. At our arrival, Capt. Afzaal of Army Medical Core arrived at our camp and briefed us about their medical activities at Risalpur Cantt. He provided us with valuable guidance on focus of diseases and areas where they required help of NGOs like ours and specific targets such as vaccination to prevent the spread of diseases in the healthy individuals. He treated a couple of patients with me and then begged leave.

Continue reading Medical Camp at Saint Mary

The devastation is widespread

Article Republished with permission from UM Healthcare

The flood affected region is vast. And the aid that has reached the affectees is minimal. Our team while treating patients in Noshehra and Pabbi district, also spent considerable time exploring, assessing and cataloging the damage caused by the floods. This is an unprecedented event that can be termed as the flood of the century. An estimated five million people are directly affected by the disaster and death toll is rising daily. At last estimate over 100 towns and villages were inundated with floods and many located near the banks of the rivers have been wiped out of existence.

There is widespread damage and the human suffering is growing by the day as the water has not receded to normal levels even after a week of original flooding.

There is no fresh water, no food, no electricity, no mobile service, nothing of note in these areas. The crops are destroyed, water wells are contaminated and most of the cattle is either dead or missing. The only thing that is wide spread is foul stench of decaying corpses (animals and humans) and muddy water carrying deadly diseases.

Relief CampThe first government sponsored relief camps are beginning to pop up. However, it is too little and too late. Mostly people are fending for themselves and trying to peace together their lives by helping each other. Here is an eye-witness account of how little water is available for drinking and how little aid has reached the people in the following report from the ground.

A list of what is needed including medicines and eminities is listed here on our UM Healthcare website

The media is just beginning to talk of the crisis but is still unable to explain the catastrophe that has engulfed us.

Please help spread the word among friends and send it out to as many people as possible as we need your help and assistance.