May 2015

PT, O&P practitioners deliver medical aid and devices to Nepal earthquake victims

The second major earthquake that struck Nepal on May 12 complicated the efforts of charitable relief organizations such as London, UK-based Handicap International, which already had an 84-person team that includes physical therapists, O&P providers, and other lower extremity experts in the country responding to the April 25 earthquake.

Handicap International’s team provided emergency rehabilitation in Kathmandu’s four main hospitals, distributing essential mobility aids, orthoses, prostheses, wheelchairs, crutches, and other resources and working with hundreds of people with acute injuries, including compound fractures, amputations, and spinal cord injuries.

A Handicap International survey of injuries in four major hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley conducted before the May 12 quake revealed that 65% of cases were related to bone fractures and that 12% of those had a spinal cord injury.

The organization, which has worked in Nepal since 1999, had as of May 12 transported 33 tons of humanitarian aid into the country, where the emergency teams were deploying it to areas worst hit by the two earthquakes and numerous aftershocks.

“We have already conducted large-scale operations in humanitarian disaster situations, such as in Haiti, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Syria, but this is the first time that we have chartered an entire plane in aid of disaster victims,” said Hélène Robin, head of Handicap International’s emergency
operations. “This underlines the scale of our operation in Nepal, which is designed to respond to the needs we have identified, and our determination to help people
affected by the earthquake as quickly as possible.”

Handicap International is calling for donations at http://bit.ly/ Nepal-Appeal.

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