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Medical Relief

CHENNAI FLOODS MEDICAL RELIEF CAMPS by PEHL SERVICES

Following the severe and unprecedented floods that caused massive destruction and loss of life and property in Tamil Nadu in December 2015, PEHL Services conducted a series of medical relief camps in and around the affected areas, treating over 2500 patients and working in tandem with several agencies doing sterling work for helping normalcy return to the lives of people who were affected. Medical relief became possible as soon as water receded. Our team reached Chennai on 9th December 2016 and worked up to 16th December 2016 in various areas in and around Chennai and in Cuddalore district. These camps were made possible due to ground support and logistics provided by the All World Gayatri Parivar, Chennai.

 






 

AREAS:
Medical Relief Camps were conducted in the following areas

  • 9th December – Puliyantop – 144 patients
  • 10th December – 2 teams – Tambaram area – with RSS
  • Palikarnai team 1 – 259 patients,
  • Perumbakkam – 211 patients,
  • Palikarnai team 2 – 363 patients
  • 11th December – Cuddalore - Two villages in Navaneetham Nagar – with the good offices of the local councilor Mr Tamilarasam – 156 and 50 patients
  • 12th December - Cuddalore district - At post Sipcot, Village – Kudikadu – 360 patients – heavily polluted and flood hit area surrounded by several chemical factories
  • 13th December – Chennai - R R Nagar – Bharati Nagar Vyasarpadi – near the major dumping ground of Chennai – 250 patients
  • 14th December – Puzhichalur Shanmuganagar – 250 patients
  • 15th December – Chinnamatur MGR Colony Mannali – 450 patients, second location in Chennai – Tiruvattiyur - 200 patients – Lions Club of Meenambakkam
  • 16th December – Chetpat - 150 patients – with Lions Club of Meenambakkam


ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED:

  • Medical Relief Camps with distribution of medicines
  • Distribution of chlorine drops for water disinfection
  • Distribution of mosquito coils and odomos
  • Distribution of biscuits


GROUND SUPPORT AND LOGISTICS PARTNERS:

  • All World Gayatri Parivar
  • Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chennai
  • Lions Club of Meenambakkam


MANY THANKS TO:

  • Mrs Sirisha Sumanth
  • IMA (Students Wing) Chennai
  • IMA Chembur
  • IMA Palghar
  • Late Ratilal Devji Chawhan Charitable Trust
  • Mr Vishal Aswani
  • Dr Gauri Balani
  • St Gregorios High School


PEHL SERVICES TEAM:

  • Dr Amit Thadhani
  • Dr Rajendra Chawhan
  • Dr Alpa Thakkar
  • Dr Nimish Shukla
  • Dr Manish Dave
  • Dr Dhiren Kothari
  • Dr Jayesh Makwana
  • Ms Tasneem Shaikh


 






 

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE MEDICAL RELIEF by PEHL SERVICES

Images of the Nepal Earthquake started pouring in from the afternoon of Saturday 25th April 2015. The sheer magnitude of the calamity was unnerving and with it the disturbing figures of human loss. The thought of millions waiting to get help in such a catastrophe made us respond almost immediately. We had earlier partnered with Gayatri Parivar during Uttarakhand relief activities and a confirmation of logistic support by them in Nepal did the trick. We send out an appeal in social media and got tremendous response with a lot of doctors ready to volunteer and help the neighbour in need. Many doctors who wanted to volunteer were stopped by their own loved ones due to the significant risks involved, this was a reason some who accompanied us did not reveal this to their families till after their tickets had been booked.

 
 

GOOD TO GO?

After numerous telephonic conversations with doctors and confirmation of on ground support by Gayatri Parivar along with a permission letter from Nepal Health Ministry, we quickly got a 15-member team together along with relief medicines worth several lakhs and weighing 450kg and left for Kathmandu on 30th April. This was probably the most comprehensive team of doctors headed for relief work with general and orthopaedic surgeons, physicians, pediatricians and a psychiatrist along with two support personnel. The journey was uneventful except for the heavy charges of almost Rs.87000 levied by Air India for "excess baggage" on medicines for relief work.

 
 

KATHMANDU

We landed at Kathmandu along with relief workers from all across the world and instantly felt a sense of pride and universal brotherhood. We were all there for the same cause! However, having permission in hand before we left from Mumbai was crucial: most of the teams that had arrived from various parts of the world were stranded without permissions for several days. It was one of the most important reasons due to which we could start contributing from day one of our arrival without any lag.

Kathmandu had a few destroyed buildings and a general sense of chaos around the city. We stayed overnight at a safe bungalow with good facilities. The night had an aftershock of 3.8 intensity, our first experience of the turbulent mother earth. The next day we left for Sindhupalchowk, our karmabhoomi , the worst affected district and the epicentre of the quake, around 85 kms from Kathmandu.

 
 

SINDHUPALCHOWK

As we moved into Sindhupalchowk district, we realized the extent of destruction with most of the structures flattened out. Few of the villages were completely destroyed and the left over buildings had cracks running across them rendering unsafe for habitation. We were put up at the Armed Police Headquarters, Lamu Sanghu by Gayatri Parivar. Having been mentally prepared to stay in the open and survive only on the dry food we had carried from Mumbai, the facilities were better than we anticipated but rudimentary to our over indulgent lifestyle in Mumbai - just a simple room of 10x12 where our entire team of 15 persons slept on the floor in unzipped sleeping bags, ready to run in the event of another major quake.

This was not being overcautious - a part of the wall of our room did fall out in one of the tremors we experienced of magnitude varying from 4.1 to 5 on Richter scale every night.

As it is difficult for doctors to devote long periods of time for relief work, we decided to stagger the team to keep it fresh and active. Accordingly, most of the first team that reached Nepal on 30th April returned to Mumbai between 5th and 7th of May, after the second team arrived on 3rd May ensuring overlap and continuity. The third team arrived in Nepal on 8th May to relieve the second team, and is currently carrying on operations till 16th May.

 
 

REACHING OUT

We divided our medical team into a mobile unit for visiting the inaccessible and remote villages higher up in the mountains treating between 150 and 200 patients daily, and another team stationed at the base camp in the campus of Armed Police Headquarters at Lamu Sanghu village that treated approximately the same numbers daily. This way we were able to maximise our potential and help many more patients.

Many people in Mumbai also wanted to send materials for aid through the PEHL Relief Team - however due to logistics, we could only carry and distribute 1200 theplas contributed by several donors across Mumbai and coordinated by Mrs Anushka Basantani - and 25kg powdered milk. Rations and provisions were procured locally and distributed in the villages where camps were held.

The villages we reached out beyond our base camp were Balkagaon, Daayandi, Jaamune, Sanupalonti, Barabise, Thumpakar - 3, 4 & 5, and Chaku. Most of these villages had hardly any structures left standing and in a few of them, camps were conducted under trees. In almost all of them, our team was the first one to reach and provide medical aid. Many patients were still in shock. Some left us in grief and shock with their heart-rending stories of loss. Smaller children, though, were apparently the best to cope, even playing hide-and-seek on the piles of rubble that was once their home.

 
 

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

Among the variety of patients that we treated were patients with lacerations and fractures, degloving injuries, sores due to being trapped in debris and even a child with nearly 20% burns, infected wounds and many medical conditions. Several patients were treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. A pregnant lady came with false labour pains on the day we reached due to severe stress and settled down only when told we would be here for another fifteen days. A three year old child didn't flinch while we sutured his wounds and put a plaster on his fractured arm. A 30-year old man was brought in with a flail chest injury with extreme pain - though it was a challenge to manage given the very limited resources, we could provide him substantial relief and stabilize him before shifting him to Kathmandu for further care. A lady walked in asking for her blood pressure to be seen, and with vague complaints. The look on her face drove a hole in our hearts - she had lost her young daughter in the quake.

In village Thumpakar, we made home visits to reassure the mourning families who could not go out of their homes. In one such home, we found and treated a lady with extensive infected burns. Back in our base camp, we had the privilege of treating the injuries sustained by a Nepali army soldier who broke a wall with his bare hands to rescue five people.

We were faced with problems of a different kind: many people on medications for their hypertension and diabetes had lost their medicines along with their homes. We provided several such patients with suitable medications to tide over the situation. An elderly lady came with acute asthma, too breathless to speak. It was a pleasure to watch her chat away with her relatives within half an hour of treatment.

 
 

THE GOOD WORK CONTINUES

At a mental level it was very traumatic to see the almost inconceivable scale of destruction and at a physical level, it involved significant personal risks for our team members and survival on the bare minimum needs. As we write this, our team is continuing its exemplary work in Sindhupalchowk and there was another aftershock of 5 last night too. 32 Nepali soldiers were attended to by our team today - brought to us by the UN.

In village Thumpakar, we made home visits to reassure the mourning families who could not go out of their homes. In one such home, we found and treated a lady with extensive infected burns. Back in our base camp, we had the privilege of treating the injuries sustained by a Nepali army soldier who broke a wall with his bare hands to rescue five people.

Our team has had the satisfaction of being able to reach out and help over 2000 patients till date and relieve their suffering in at least some small measure in the face of a colossal tragedy, and that makes it all worthwhile.

 

With many thanks and acknowledgements to:

PEHL Medical Relief Team:

From Mumbai

  • Dr Amit Thadhani - General Surgeon
  • Dr Sanjay Sonar - General Surgeon
  • Dr Ambarish Saraf - Orthopaedic Surgeon
  • Dr Vishal Sawant - Psychiatrist
  • Dr Anjana Thadhani - Paediatrician
  • Dr Dhiren Kothari - Physician
  • Dr Mahesh Mahajan - Physician
  • Dr Gauri Balani - Physician / Epidemiologist
  • Dr Jayshri Narasimhan - Homeopathic Pediatrician
  • Mr Jayesh Makwana - Volunteer
  • Dr Nimish Shukla - Physician
  • Dr Alpa Thakkar - Physician
  • Dr Rutvik Khakhar - Physician
  • Dr Deepak More - Orthopaedic Surgeon
  • Dr Rajesh Yadav - ENT Surgeon
  • Dr Priyadarshini Joshi - Gynaecologist


From Delhi
(coordinated by Dr Pawan Gupta)

  • Dr Suryapratap Singh Tomar - Neuro Spine and Trauma Surgeon
  • Dr Anuj Bhargava - Maxillofacial Trauma Surgeon
  • Dr Aakriti Gogireddy - Physician
  • Dr Yeshwanth Sonnathi - Physician
  • Dr B Vishishta - Physician
  • Dr Prasanth Tripathi - Endodontist
  • Dr Chitra Tanna - Gynaecologist


From Delhi
(All World Gayatri Parivar - Haridwar / Nepal)

  • Shri Rakesh Jaiswal
  • Mr Sanjeev
  • Mr Brijesh
  • Guruji
  • Kamal
  • Ramhari
  • Ms Jyoti Mainali
  • Mr Manoj Gajurel
    and several other support personnel who made our work possible.

Young Volunteers Organisation for raising a substantial part of the medicines required for the camps

Ms Tasneem Shaikh for coordinating the distribution of relief materials in affected villages

Our Donors Several individual donors supported us with their contributions, without which none of this would have been possible.



 

UTTARAKHAND RELIEF Camps Report by PEHL SERVICES

 

(PEHL Services is a grassroots Non Profit Organisation working in the fields of education, disabilities and medical relief. To know more about our activities you can visit our website www.pehlindia.org)