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  South Asian Earthquake
EHA Response - An Overview: October 17, 2005

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A strong earthquake of magnitude 7.4 occurred on Oct 8 2005 at 8.50 A.M (IST) with epicenter at Muzaffarbad region of Pakistan.

The high intensity earthquake was also strongly felt across the north Indian states particularly in Jammu & Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. The latest official reports confirmed death of 1300 persons in Jammu and Kashmir which includes 72 army personnel. 6266 people were reported to be injured. The injured were first brought to the make shift civil hospital in Uri (Uri civil hospital was also destroyed). Some 200 critically injured patients were shifted to Srinagar Medical College.

Action taken by Emmanuel Hospital Association

The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit of EHA has been actively involved from Oct 8 onwards. EHA team contacted a Christian Mission hospital, John Bishop Mission hospital in Anantnag for collecting more information and local logistic support. EHA is also a member of Disaster Coordination Committee (The Disaster Coordination Committee was set up in 2002 by 3 national Christian relief and development agencies in order to pool resources and capacity to respond to major national calamities). It comprises of Emmanuel Hospital Association, EFICOR and Discipleship Center. DCC meetings were urgently called and they decided to send a joint assessment team to Jammu and Kashmir for joint rapid need assessment. On Oct 9 the first team was dispatched to Srinagar to begin the assessment.

Inter agency Coordination

A two member EHA team along with EFICOR attended SPHERE INDIA inter-agency meeting along with other INGOs like CARE, OXFAM, ACTION AID, IFRC, ADRA, World Vision on October 10. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange information and update on the earthquake situation of J & K, the response so far and to map the sectors of intervention by NGOs other than International Humanitarian Agencies.

EHA Rapid Medical Response Team

The Disaster Management & Mitigation Unit of EHA constituted a 10 member rapid response team consisting of physicians, surgeons, anaesthetists, orthopaedic surgeons, Gynaecologist, epidemiologist and nurses. The team members were mobilized from EHA hospitals and from Christian Medical College Vellore.

The Orthopaedic surgeons from CMC Vellore reached Srinagar on October14 with surgical equipment. The team members also carried with them essential medicines including antibiotics, syringes, dressing materials, Plaster of Paris etc. The team flew to Srinagar on Friday and is already actively involved in providing emergency medical work to the affected people in Uri and nearby interior villages in the Indian Border. A mobile medical team visited the affected locations in an ambulance and provided on-the-field medical services. The EHA team is also closely networking with DCC members and other INGOs currently involved with earthquake response.

Government officials of J & K informed the EHA team that 26 health sub centers were totally damaged and they are looking for good humanitarian agencies for reconstruction of these centers.

EHA is also planning to set up a medical surveillance unit to monitor the diseases. During the rapid need assessment conducted by the EHA team, it was observed that 60-70 % of the shepherd communities who live at the top of the mountains are suffering from Tuberculosis.

Mr Roy Alex, Manager - Disaster Mitigation & Management Program, EHA.

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