By Minna Passi, Finnish Red Cross and Merlijn Stoffels, Netherlands Red Cross
The hospital has been destroyed and the patients are in tents outside. It is expected that more patients will arrive from the remote villages in the following days. The Canadian Red Cross is sending out a field hospital to Dhunche in corporation with the Philippine Red Cross and the Hong Kong Red Cross. The road to the town is blocked so the equipment is carried in by helicopters from Kathmandu. In the village, high in the Himalayas, many houses and the hospital has been destroyed. Helicopters bring in supplies and staff, and take out the injured and the dead.
“I don’t know yet how long I’m going to be working here, but I’m going to stay as long as I am needed,” says Team-leader Hossam Elsharkawi who is specialized in high altitude and wilderness medicine. He is extremely worried about the situation of the wounded in the villages around Dhunche. So far contact has been non-existent, but they try to reach them with helicopters. ‘’We have to be quick, otherwise it can be too late for the victims of the earthquake,” he says.
Inside the clinic is a woman with an infection on her foot. She had to walk for days to reach Dhunche. Because of landslides and cracks in the road, the only way to reach it was by foot. ‘’For this kind of problem, intensive treatment is needed,” says Hossam. “Without it she would most likely lose a limb or even die.”
In Chartara, the situation is similar. The army has evacuated many injured people in the area; some of them are strong enough to walk from the helicopter, but most are carried out. The hospital in Chartara is also so badly damaged that treatment is taking place in tents outside. Here, a medical team from the Norwegian Red Cross has erected a field hospital. Their journey was delayed by a landslide that blocked the road on Saturday, but they are now set up and treating patients as they arrive from the more remote regions of the country.