Quake: Bhutan’s medical team in Nepal has treated almost 400 earthquake victims, as of yesterday afternoon.

The team treated 107 victims on April 30 and 66 as of 6:30pm, yesterday.  The team treated 217 victims in its first two days.

The 63-member team, deployed to Nepal upon command of His Majesty the King, has been treating victims round the clock. Kuensel has learned that team members are working shifts of 12-14 hours each.

It is also a huge advantage for both the team and patients that members of the team can speak Nepali.

Besides medical treatment, the team has also been distributing free blankets, t-shirts, and jackets to patients.

Kuensel has also learned that the mood in the camp is good and enthusiasm high.

Today will be the fifth day the team has been treating victims in Trishuli, Nuwakot district, located 34km from the epicentre of the April 25 earthquake. Trishuli is one of the three worst hit areas in Nepal.

With an official channel of communications established, more detailed information on the team is being received.

It was reported on the Facebook page of the DeSuung that the medical team’s spirits were lifted as a result of two particular cases on April 30.  A healthy baby girl was delivered by caesarean section, after her mother was brought to the camp following complications.  Both mother and daughter are safe, it was reported.

The medical team also operated on a two-year old girl, who is now in stable condition.  However, in an indication of the severity of the tragedy that has taken place in Nepal, and the types of situations members of the team face, it was also reported that the girl was found in the forest beside the body of her mother, who had been killed by a falling boulder. The girl had survived for five days.

Bhutanese medical team members treating patients at the Trishuli district hospital (Photo courtesy: Bhutan4Nepal)

Most patients being treated at the Bhutan camp have required orthopaedic treatment, which means the team is dealing with mainly skeletal problems, like broken bones.

The team has set up two wards and is hosting 30 patients.

In another development, a team from Nepal, which included an army battalion commander, visited the Bhutan camp to discuss deployment of some members of the Bhutanese team further out in a remote area.  The relief team scouted for a location and identified one, and will deploy a small unit tomorrow.

The Nepal team also handed over food supplies and water purification tablets, which were distributed to patients, it was reported on the DeSuung page.

It was also mentioned that two more relief camps have been established in the vicinity, easing pressure on the Bhutan camp.

“The team has been working with the spirit of helping those in need – characteristic of the Bhutanese cultural heritage and forging an important connection with the people of our neighbouring country, as well as the many visitors to the camp, who have observed and admired their work, or offered to work alongside our team for a while,” it is posted on the DeSuung page. “The team has also made use of their extensive experience from operating the Kidu Mobile Medical Unit to set up and operate camps at any location, and have enriched their own knowledge by their work in a disaster-struck zone,” it is added.

More than 20,000 litres of water have already been collected through private donations for the Bhutan4Nepal relief effort.  Water donations have been pouring in at the Bhutan4Nepal temporary warehouse on the ground floor of the Office of the Attorney General in lower Changangkha, and up to 12,000 more litres are expected today.

The water is expected to be delivered to the relief team soon.  Trishuli is at least a two-and-a-half hour drive from Kathmandu.  The road condition between Trishuli and Kathmandu is reportedly still in good condition except for a few cracks.

Donations to the Bhutan4Nepal private initiative by Dawa Penjor, the executive director for the Bhutan Media Foundation, have almost reached Nu 600,000.

The Institute of Language and Cultural Studies has also raised Nu 165,000.  Other initiatives are also underway to raise funds around the country.  At least one initiative based at the VAST gallery is collecting food items like rice.

About 70 Bhutanese stranded in Nepal will be transported back to Bhutan by road on Sunday.

Bhutan donated Nu 63M (million) or USD 1M to Nepal for rehabilitation efforts two days after the earthquake.

The death toll in Nepal has crossed 6,200 as of yesterday. More than 19,000 have been injured by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Gyalsten K Dorji


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