Pakistan Red Crescent reunites relatives amidst the tragedy of Lahore bomb blast

Publié: 31 mars 2016 8:02 CET

By Khalid bin Majeed, Pakistan Red Crescent

In the wake of Sunday’s deadly bomb blast in Lahore, Pakistan Red Crescent emergency response teams rushed to the scene of the attack in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park to assist the wounded. Doctors, paramedics and a team of 20 volunteers from the Red Crescent’s Punjab Branch were deployed together with six ambulances to provide first aid and transport the dead and injured to different hospitals in Lahore.

Eight-year old Tehmina, from Sanghar, a remote district of Sindh Province, was with her family in the park having just attended a relatives wedding. Eight members of her family, including her parents were killed in the blast, which claimed the lives of 75 people and injured more than 400, mostly children and women.

Tehmima is recovering in the emergency ward of Lahore’s Jinnah Hospital. In the next bed lies her critically injured younger brother Shahbaz, the sole surviving member of the family group who is now fighting for his life.

Immediately after the bomb blast the Red Crescent, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Pakistan,  activated its Restoring Family Links (RFL) team whose role was to help relatives anxious for news of loved ones who might be among the injured.

Momina Abbasi was leading the RFL team. The task of reconnecting victims with their loved ones was not easy.

“The scene at the bomb blast was horrible. Many people were dead, injured or unconscious. The faces of some were burnt beyond recognition,” she said.

A Pakistan Red Crescent medical team was providing medical and surgical care to the injured in the emergency departments of Jinnah and Sheikh Zaid Hospitals. The Red Crescent also appealed to blood donors to come forward and hundreds of volunteers provided units of blood which were donated to different hospitals.

Momima’s team established registration desks at the main hospitals to handle public enquiries about the dead and injured. It was at the Jinnah Hospital that her team found Tehima and her brother. The two children were unattended and were so traumatised that they were unable to speak. The team photographed the children and sent the images to RFL officers who were active in Lahore’s other major hospitals. After an hour of searching, one of the teams managed to trace the grandmother of the two children and they were reunited shortly afterwards.