Pakistan Earthquake 2005

In early 2006, I had the chance to join the second team of NYC Medics to go and provide disaster relief in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan. Right after the enormous earthquake struck the remote regions of Northern Pakistan, NYC Medics set out to treat victims of the earthquake in some of the most remote locations in Kashmir. Bob Simon of CBS 60 Minutes reported on that first mission in an Emmy award-winning news documentary “Aftershock in Pakistan”

Bob Simon has also a segment in his Reporter’s Notebook about the story:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=1040883n

The second mission was organized differently. The military authorities that were overseeing the recovery effort in the earthquake zone and the World Health Organization determined that our team was needed to staff a field hospital in Garrhi Habibullah, only a few kilometres down the valley from the epicentre. The field hospital was set up in lieu the local hospital that collapsed during the quake. The emphasis was on field, not so much on hospital. Initially, the Iranian Red Crescent established the site and equipped it with tents and two buses, one with a mobile OR unit, the other one with a lab and x-ray installation. The operation was then sustained by a medical team from Bosnia. When NYC Medics arrived, the only staff left were three Pakistani medical students, local support staff, and some soldiers from the Pakistani military. But there were already some buildings in place, constructed from the same corrugated steel sheets that were distributed throughout the disaster area as emergency building materials.

Nursing beyond Borders: When does Cement become appropriate technology in Public Health?

The following slideshow about the mission and its context was presented to NP students at the University of Victoria. (Photo credits: NYC Medics/Google Earth/Wikipedia)

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