Case Studies

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Disaster Management: Earthquake relief work rendered by P. N. R. society

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Disaster Management: Earthquake relief work rendered by P. N. R. society

The PNR Society registered under Trust Act and Society’s Act is obliged to render assistance and services to victims of natural calamity.  Accordingly the PNR diverted its resources for Earthquake of 2001 in the Kutch district.

EARTHQUAKE :

Earthquake which tremoured whole of Gujarat on 26th January, 2001 created devastating effects, particularly in Kutch District, is beyond any expectations. Thousands of people, male, female and children have lost their lives under debris of collapsed houses and high rise buildings. Receiving this sad news, PNR Society has decided to start relief work immediately on war footings. We have decided to start emergency tent hospital of 100 beds to provide medical treatment and surgery to injured people on priority base. Simultaneously it was decided to start a kitchen for food and water. All medical, paramedical staff of the Society, Railway Scouts, Indian Medical Association, etc. were contacted to give their maximum support. The PNR Society has provided manpower covering 44 patients for major and minor operations.

ACTION TAKEN:

On 28th January, 2001 fifteen vehicles including Ambulances/ Medical vans and other vehicles were sent with medicines, injections, surgery equipments, cots, beds, blankets, sweters, generators for electricity, tents, provision for food, drinking water, petrol, diesel and other necessary items. Additional 15 trucks of fire wood to perform funeral ceremony, were sent.

70 members team of PNR Society reached the place on 29th January, 2001 and started work. We were the first to erect the camp with whole hearted support received from all. All the team members were immunised against infection.

Tent covering ten thousand feet area was erected immediately after reaching the place in mid night. Light, water, mini operation theatre, wards to accommodate 100 patients was created in this base hospital.

Emergency relief work for patients who were brought out of debris, like dressing, plastering and surgery was started with co-operation of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Doctors, etc. who came from India and outside India.

Stretchers bringing injured patients started coming and all the 100 beds camp was fully occupied before the tent could be fully erected. Experiencing heavy rush of patients, 50 more beds were added making it 150 beds base hospital.

In base camp, during 12 days, 2500 patients were given out door treatment and 1400 patients were given indoor treatment including less complex surgeries. The kitchen was started, persons who have had no food for the last three to four days. 1000 beneficiaries per day, have taken the food and it was increased to about eight to ten thousand beneficiaries per day. Since early morning till late night services of tea, coffee, drinking water, etc. were also arranged. Food facilities proved a great boon to people coming from outside for daily relief work.

Injured patients requiring minor surgery were attended and those requiring complex orthopaedic treatment which could be treated in a hospital setting were transferred to PNR Hospital in Bhavnagar, about 300 K.M. distance, by State Transport Buses. Family members of injured patients were also transported by bus.

About 44 patients who required complex surgery were transferred to PNRS Hospital and operated with major surgery. All the above patients and their families were provided with free food, clothes, blankets and other necessaries. Also pocket expenses were given to the majority of injured patients.

On one side Nature created this devastating earthquake and on the other side it has continued constructive work also. It was informed that a pregnant lady, burried under debris, was likely to deliver a child. On hearing this one microbiologist and two nurses resting in the camp immediately accompanied these people, and with the help of nearby people debris was removed, the mother was examined, admitted to the base hospital. Delivery was successfully done and the life of both mother and child was saved. Unfortunately this lady’s husband and both in-laws died in house crash. Similarly two more safe deliveries were also performed in base camp.

SUPPORT OF IMPACT FOUNDATION – LIFE LINE EXPRESS IN RELIEF WORK:

After learning the disastrous news of Gujarat earthquake on BBC, Claire E. Hicks (Mrs.) Chief Executive of IMPACT Foundation (U.K.) sent an e-mail expressing her sympathy for earthquake victims of Gujarat and offering help. It was proposed to bring Life Line Express to Gandhidham to cope with relief work. Claire Hicks, Shri Tabaccowalla and Mrs. Zelma Lazrus immediately agreed with this request and gave their maximum co-operation. Life Line Express reached Gandhidham on 6th February, 2001. Personal contacts were made with those residing in the tents and phamplets were distributed in remote villages, people were informed about the relief work. Many patients are now coming to Life Line Express.

RELIEF & REHABILITATION:

After 10 days, the hospital camp was transferred to a ground near Life Line Express to accommodate 25 beds. This stage will continue for about 6 months. Where necessary, surgery and rehabilitation work viz. post operative treatment, physio and occupational therapy, artificial aids and appliances to increase mobility, wheel chairs, walkers, tricycles, etc. was continue for about three more months. More than 3000 patients were treated in this camp and the Life Line Express.

TOTAL PROJECT COST:

  • In first phase Rs. 15 lacs were spent for transportation of medical and paramedical staff, nursing staff, volunteers, cots, beds, tents, medicines, instruments and implants, etc.
  • Rs. 15 lacs spent for health care and supporting services were given to patients and other earthquake affected people for 16 days. During this period more than 1 Lakh dishes and about 2 Lakhs cups of tea, coffee were served free.

In second phase the following items / instruments were provided to needy 3050 patients worth Rs. 34 lacs.

  • 1. Wheel Chair50
  • 2. Tricycle100
  • 3. Crutches500
  • 4. Walkers (folding)150
  • 5. Spinal corset250
  • 6. Artificial Hand200
  • 7. Artificial Leg300
  • 8. Posterior Splint1000
  • 9. Calipers500
The total project cost was more than Rs. One Crore, out of this Rs. 15 lacs was donated by Ship Breakers Association, Bhavnagar and other organizations.
 
In the third phase, five physio and occupational therapy centers were opened.  One each in Gandhidham, Anjar, Bhuj, Mandavi and Bhavnagar.  They continued service for one and half year.  A total number of 12,600 patients took the benefit.
 
It is gratifying to record here a girl named Prutha Desai of Ahmedabad, is aved from debris due to earthquake, was found to have lost her right hand.  She was fitted with an artificial hand by PNR, later known as story ‘Miracle Hand’, was appreciated by no other than ex-president of the U.S.A., Mr. Bill Clinton and his team.
 
Bhavnagar Nagrik Bank, Redcross Society and Saurashtra Chamber of Commerce were with us.
 
Houses were built for widows and two blind persons.  A total number of 13 blind persons were given Rs. 5,000/- each for repairing of their damaged homes.
 
Four rooms in a school of Bhuj and two rooms in a village school of the Bhuj district constructed.
Cereal-bags were distributed among the sufferers. 
 
Thus, the cost of rehabilitation of the earthquake affected stood more than 
Rs. One Crore.  We thank the Philanthropists and organizations who helped us in this noble social cause