HYDERABAD: It is nearly a month since a 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. Though none can share the pain of those who lost their near and dear ones, their property and livestock, people from all over the world pitched in to do their bit. Owne among them is city-based Dr Aakriti Gogireddy, who recently completed her MBBS from Kamineni Institute of Medical Sciences.
Describing the situation there, she says that people in Kathmandu are not as affected as those in other parts of the country. “Most people have multiple fractures or dislocated bones caused by heavy objects falling on them. However, the Napalese population is at risk of another catastrophe caused by malaria and dengue. Poor sanitation, crumbling infrastructure and even crevices and pools of water on the ground make perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes,” she explains.
Aakriti was accompanied by two other doctor friends – Yashwant Sonnathi from KIMS and Vishistha B, a physiotherapist from NIMS.
The trio reached Kathmandu on May 7. Amidst the landslides and the frequent tremors they travelled though places like Lamosangu, Banseri, Belapi, Zambu, Sindhupal Chowk.
“While rescue operations were going on smoothly in Kathmandu due to the presence of a hospital, we were shocked to find that other places did not even have functional Primary Healthcare Centres. There were people with severe fractures and dislocations, who required advanced medical care. But they were left to their fate,” Aakriti shares. The worst affected area she says is Sindhupal Chowk.
The young medico also realised that traumatised people not only needed medical aid but also emotional support. “Apart from providing them treatment, we also spent a lot of time talking to people, who poured their hearts out about the loss of their belongings and their kin,” she says
So what saved Kathmandu from being affected like other areas? Aakrtiti says, “Being an earthquake-prone country, newly-constructed houses in the capital were made quake resistant. This saved a lot of buildings from turning into rubble.” However, only rich can afford such houses, she adds.
Speaking about the safety measures they took before they left for the rescue operation Aakriti says, “While Curofy, a doctors’ association, gave us the opportunity to visit Nepal, all arrangement for the trip was made by All World Gayatri Pariwar, Haridwar. We just had to carry our stethoscope and apron.” Armed with their equipment and a firm will, the trio provided treatment to around 400 people daily on their week-long trip.
The rescue operation, however, was not easy for the doctors. “Though initially we commuted in ambulance, with roads were blocked due to landslides, we had to trek to reach villages and set up camps,” she recalls and adds that carrying the stock of medicines along was no mean feat.
The catastrophe may have snatched a lot from the Nepalese, it has failed to dent their humaneness. Aakriti recalls how despite living in roadside tents and having little to eat, they shared and ate.
“No rescue team will think about them after a year. But I have promised myself that I will visit the country again,” says an emotional Aakriti.