Friday, November 25, 2005

Dr Farhan Rabbani (UK)

Dr Farhan Rabbani is a Senior House Officer in Accident and Emergency at Nelson Hospital in London.



Dear all,

Thank you all for your emails and correspondance offering assisstance to our group (Emergency Aid Uk) which has just returned from affected areas in NWFP

Thought I'd give you a short field report to update you on the situation. You may of course pass this on to others travelling out to affected areas.

The situation out in Pakistan is more dire than the worst field reports you may have read on the net. Although the earthquake occurred over 5 weeks ago, the medium to long term problems are becoming more and more apparent - shelter, sanitation, communicable diseases.

We operated with the assisstance of the Pakistan Army to try to reach more remote villages. We set up base in Balakot, where we treated the local population. we also trekked upto 3hrs each way to nearby villages. Here we found mostly women and children as well as the elderly and frail who were unable/unwilling to descend to the relief camps in Balakot. Even though we were there 4 weeks post event, there were still people who had not seen a single medic! We had two critically ill patients airlifted to Islamabad for further treatment. We also operated in Guri Dupatta under Operation Heartbeat which is being run by a Canadian called Todd Shea - amazing guy...he will put you to good use!!! Any new teams going out..I suggest you contact him...he has the means and the resources to fly you out to the remotest regions where you are needed most.

Most of our patients were suffering from psychsomatic symptoms indicative of post traumatic stress, i.e. general aches and pains, inability to focus, inability to sleep, loss of appetite. What 85% of the patients needed was good long term counselling. They will never get that.

It is easy to see the complete physical devastation of towns and villages. What is more difficult to see is that the society that existed has been ripped apart. In a culture which thrives on identified individual roles in family household (i.e man is breadwinner, female is mother and housemaker etc) there is disarray...families are incomplete, generations are mssing. I met so many 'families' where the oldest was 15 y.o...looking after numerous younger siblings....both parents dead. The support they would have had from extended families has gone. They are literally on thier own...at the complete mercy of aid workers. If we do not feed them they will die of hunger. If we do not treat them they will die of disease. If we dont shelter them they will die of the cold. It's as simple as that. They are totally DEPENDENT on our help.

PLease keep up the good work you are all doing. The priorities now are the supply of WINTERISED TENTS...the ones theyv'e got are NO GOOD...I slept in one....I know. Blankets are essential. More docs are needed...not just specialists...I means GPs and junior doctors who have a wide range of skills. The relief effort is far from over...it is not too late. People with REAL problems need you.

Inshallah, i may be flying back out in 4 weeks, anyone is welcome to join me / my team.

Get in touch.

Farhan

11 Comments:

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Kimon Bellas said...

I would like to go with you to help. I live in Los Angeles. I would be available for a month from mid January. Traveled in Afghanistan and in Pakistan before. Loved the people, loved the place. Want to give back. Physycally and emotionally strong. Quick to adapt to any circumstance. Educated. Even tough not medical could be used as assistant, or to build, organize. Fluent French and English. Quick to learn any foreign language. Have donated to MSF. Could bring, carry supplies, own resources. By trade can help with logistics from anywhere. Sea/air shipping. Do you have any way to get in touch with Todd Shea?
Kimon14@aol.com

 
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