Nepal: Medical Team Heads Into Remote Mountain Region

Our response team in Nepal is currently en route to a remote district at the foot of the Himalayas.  It’s in the Sindupalchok region, an area hard hit by the earthquake, where medical care is desperately needed.  Dr. Gary Morsch, HHI founder, is on the team, and sent the following email before heading out.

buddhist prayer flags

Dr. Gary Morsch: We’re loading up the three 4-wheel-drive vehicles right now.  I’ll send some photos when I can.  We’ll be wending our way through the Himalayas northwards towards Tibet and eastward toward the Mt. Everest region. After a long drive, the 7-person medical team will trek on up to an area called Thanpalkot.  This was the area HHI was assigned to, and the military has been trying to fly us to for the last two days.

We had told the officials a day ago that we would be willing to drive and trek to this area, and we began getting everything ready to do that.  At yesterday’s UN meeting, the WHO director told the gathered NGO leaders that the military would not be flying any more personnel, but were instead going to use their aircraft to deliver food and water.  I can certainly understand, since food and water are a higher level of need than medical care.

They used Heart to Heart International as an example of a group that was willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.  He said he’s tired of hearing complaints from various groups complaining about their need for water, or food, or medical supplies, or transportation.  He said that if you can’t do what HHI is doing, and be completely self-sufficient, you should go home!

deployment gear

So we’ve got two weeks of dehydrated food, water, water purification equipment, tents, sleeping bags, tarps, and hundreds of pounds of medicines and medical supplies, and they’re being loaded as I type this.  We will drive as far as the road goes, and then hire local Sherpa porters to help us carry our gear up the mountain to Thanpalkot.  They have sent one person from the local community of Thanpalkot who had come down to Kathmandu before the earthquake, and who will be our guide to lead us up the mountain.  Julie Hefner, our country director, and I have packed an overnight pack and depending on how long all this takes, may try to hike up the mountain with the team, and return the next day to the road, and then head back to Kathmandu.

We’ve also found a terrific translator.  He’s a Nepali-American officer in the U.S. Army who has taken an emergency leave and is volunteering full time with our group.  In addition to his translating, he’s now him in charge of our security.
Well, I need to go. Have a wonderful Sunday!  Thank you again, for all your support!

 

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Categories: Disaster Response , Nepal Earthquake