Nepal: Staff assess situation for earthquake victims in isolated Gorkha
The day after Nepal was hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on Saturday 25 April, Wesley Pryor, Handicap International’s rehabilitation adviser, travelled to assess the situation in Gorkha, an isolated region very close to the epicentre. He travelled in conjunction with International Medical Corps.
Injured people outside a hospital in Kathmandu during the aftershocks. Nepal. | © Wesley Pryor / Handicap International
Wesley, Handicap International’s rehabilitation adviser, explains: “The day after the disaster, the situation seemed to be more or less under control at Ghorka hospital. We found 110 injured people being cared for at the hospital and 12 people who had died. The hospital is not equipped for this type of situation and does not have the facilities to perform surgery on a large scale. The most serious cases were evacuated to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.”
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A constant flow of people with injuries
“We slept in a tent on a football field. The next day, a district officer told us that six villages to the north of Gorkha had been completely destroyed by the earthquake. According to him, most of the injured were being cared for in Gorkha,” continues Wesley. “He also told us that the army had not been able to conduct searches because of the weather. The situation in most of the surrounding villages was still unknown.”
After travelling for four hours, Wesley then arrived in the town of Dhading, where 350 people were killed and 250 injured in the earthquake. “Dhading hospital has very little equipment. Fortunately, a team of doctors was setting to work when we arrived. The town has been badly hit. There’s a lot of damage.” Following this assessment, Handicap International supplied the hospital with basic medical equipment.
On returning to Kathmandu, Wesley re-joined the organisation’s team. He is currently playing an active role supporting and managing the care of victims.
“We were able to very quickly open disability and vulnerability focal points to coordinate the arrival of patients in four hospitals in Kathmandu. Injured people are arriving all the time. The hospitals are all overflowing. Most patients are camping outside. Everyone is waiting for treatment. Unfortunately, so many people have been injured that surgeons are having to give priority to the worst cases, such as people whose chests have been crushed by debris. And there’s a constant flow of people with injuries arriving from other regions hit by the earthquake,” says Wesley.