Health care reaches remote areas of Nepal
The relief efforts of Jesuit teams in Nepal are continuing, with shelters being constructed, food being distributed and health care - including trauma counselling - being provided.
On 5 May, two teachers from of St Xavier’s Jawalakhel accompanied Fr Amrit to Chhap, a village in Kavre district, Jyamdi VDC. Of the original 101 houses only one remains standing, and that has many severe cracks. "It is a mixed village of Tamangs and Thakuris," explains Fr Amrit. "We distributed beaten rice to 84 families and tarpaulins to needy families."
Seventy-four student volunteers from St Xavier’s College went to Dhitalthok and Chogaun, divided into two groups. One group kept themselves busy cutting bamboos and helping one of the local families to construct a temporary residence. The other team helped people in houses in Chogaun to clear the debris and recover their possessions that had been buried. Local resources were used to clear the debris and local people also joined in the work.
St Xavier's College has been collaborating with Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) to organise a Medical Health Camp for earthquake victims of Sindhupalchowk district. A team of 11 energetic Social Work students, 10 experienced doctors and nurses, skillful Social Workers and resourceful mentors travelled to Lisankhu for a health camp that provided support over three days.
"Though no serious injuries or death had taken place in Lisankhu, people were still in fear caused by the continuous tremours," says Fr Jomon of the Nepalese Jesuits. "Approximately 600 people visited the health camp with various health-related problems. People walked for hours to reach it, as they have no hospitals nearby. The health camp benefitted not only the people of Lisankhu but also the people of neighbouring villages like Bhanjyang, Ramechhap, Kavre and Dolakha."
The volunteers were supplemented by Dr Pravin, who had come to Nepal as a tourist. He had decided to enroll with the team to help the victims of the earthquake. The majority of the people who came for the free health checkup had minor problems like body ache, gastritis, allergies, eye infection etc, conditions which would normally be regarded as quite minor, but for victims of a natural calamity such as the Nepal earthquake, they are considered to be major. Others had problems like sprains, abrasions, nausea, dizziness, fungal infections and high blood pressure due to the earthquake.
The health camp moved on to Thokarpa VDC as well, where an average of 300 patients visited the camp. Thokarpa, which suffered a greater loss than Lisankhu, lies 12 kms away from Lisankhu. Both the villages lack proper health facilities, so even small injuries and cuts were untreated. The health camp provided the villagers with an opportunity to get themselves treated and to receive counselling.
Fr Jiju reports from St Xavier’s Godavari: “Twenty of us went to Nuwakot district, one of the worst affected districts in terms of damage, on 5 May. We were assigned a village named ChaarGhare by the Local Development Officer whose children are in our school. No relief materials had reached the village. The villages was around one hour's drive on a very treacherous road. Most of the houses had either totally collapsed or been severely damaged. Our team consisted of staff, alumni, parents and two Cluny sisters. We were assigned two wards of the village where the population consisted of Dalits, Tamangs and Rais. The entire village had gathered to receive the relief. Local leaders and the village secretary made sure that the relief materials went to each and every family that deserved [it]. Our help reached 300 families ... tarpaulins, beaten rice, noodles and mats. We also left some medicines at the local health post. After the distribution was over, we could notice happiness and a sense of gratitude on the faces of the people. We ... returned home satisfied, realising the fact that we were able to make a small difference in the lives of our suffering brothers and sisters.”