‘Care under Canvas’ – ShelterBox supports hospital in Nepal

//‘Care under Canvas’ – ShelterBox supports hospital in Nepal

‘Care under Canvas’ – ShelterBox supports hospital in Nepal

‘Care under canvas – unsafe Kathmandu hospital buildings have been condemned, so Nepal’s wounded are being treated in ShelterBox tents’

ShelterBox tents are being pressed into service as mobile clinics in Kathmandu, as crumbling hospitals are branded unsafe. Nursing Director Geeta Shrestha says ‘from my heart and from my hospital, I thank you.’

It is Nicola Hinds’ birthday today. And she and her ShelterBox response team colleagues are in Kathmandu making arrangements to provide shelter for the weary and wounded of earthquake-shaken Nepal.

Nicola says, ‘Today is my birthday and I couldn’t think of a better place to spend it. I absolutely love the country, and the people, and I feel so happy and privileged to be doing something to help. This is the third celebration I have spent in Nepal this year. Earlier I visited to carry out monitoring and evaluation following ShelterBox’s response to flooding and landslides last autumn, and spent both my wedding anniversary and Mother’s Day in the country.’

‘My children have told me that they’ve cancelled the birthday flowers and donated the money to ShelterBox. If any of my friends read this they can do the same!’

Our photo shows Nicola, herself a former state registered nurse and midwife, with Geeta Shrestha, Nursing Director at a Kathmandu hospital. They stand beside one of the tents provided by the disaster relief charity ShelterBox, which will be used to give privacy and shelter to the city’s wounded, for dressings to be changed, for minor operations, and as mobile clinics. Geeta says to ShelterBox’s supporters, ‘From my heart and from my hospital, I thank you.’

Nicola says, ‘The devastation is enormous. My husband is a GP in Northern Ireland, and it really puts things into perspective about how lucky we are to have the NHS when you see the scene here. People are being treated in the open air with limited resources – the difference is staggering.’

Team Leader for ShelterBox in Kathmandu, Phil Duloy, says, ‘Most hospitals in Kathmandu have just been condemned, so we are immediately distributing our pre-positioned stocks in the city to give spaces for the medical staff to treat patients who have been evacuated into the grounds.’

With patients now having to quit hospital buildings, Kathmandu is fast becoming a city where hundreds of thousands sleep outdoors. Only the few buildings certified earthquake-proof are habitable, as the ground still rumbles with frequent aftershocks. Phil adds, ‘During the last few days, we have experienced several tremors, including one measuring Richter 5. It was the loudest earthquake I’ve heard and gave us a quite a jolt. We were outside when it happened, but were quickly joined by a stream of people exiting the buildings around us.’

‘Each day there is thunder and heavy rain, and with the monsoon season coming there is a possibility of flooding as well. With so many people sleeping outside, this terrible weather makes the speed of our response even more crucial.’

ShelterBox has already dispatched hundreds of shelter kits, containing tools and tarpaulins to make basic shelters or to waterproof damaged roofs. It already has tents in country, some of which are now being used by the hospitals. Major stocks of ShelterBoxes containing specially-designed family tents are located at Dubai and near other global transport hubs. Phil Duloy says ‘There is so much traffic coming into Kathmandu’s airport, that it’s difficult to get aid into the country quickly. Our logistics team in Helston, Cornwall is analysing the various routes to ensure the fastest response possible, including sending it to India and then trucking it in.’

He describes the eerie conditions in this tented city, where everyone has to be prepared to flee when the earth shakes. ‘Many people have left Kathmandu and it is very quiet at night. Those who have stayed remain vigilant – many people, like ourselves, are sleeping with their clothes on in order to be able to get to safety quickly, should there be another significant aftershock.’

‘While the areas to the North West of Kathmandu are devastated, in the city itself some of the taller buildings look intact – until you realise that they used to have a ground floor which has been compressed to the height of only a couple of feet!’

ShelterBox, which had teams in Nepal last autumn responding to flooding and landslides, is working with established contacts in the Nepal government, other aid agencies, and Rotary groups to begin importing its substantial aid consignments, and to make sure that its assessment teams are supported in serving the affected population. The current team of four will be increased later in the week, and the charity expects to be in Nepal for months to come.

Nicola Hinds was among last year’s ShelterBox response teams in Nepal. ‘I first visited Nepal last September with ShelterBox when we responded to flooding and landslides in the north of the country. I then returned earlier this year to see how the communities had recovered, and it was great to see how they had been able to pick up the pieces and were starting to return to normality. I hope that we can help people do the same following the earthquake.’

‘We have already heard that in the area of Gorkha 90 per cent of buildings have been destroyed, with a further 5 per cent partially destroyed. We believe that it will be a real challenge to reach all of these communities.’

‘But we will find a way, because that’s what ShelterBox does.’

By | 2017-04-27T21:42:20+00:00 May 3rd, 2015|Tips & Advice|0 Comments

About the Author:

Paddy Quinlan

Rangiora Rotarian and ShelterBox NZ District Representative

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