Published: 1st November 2005
Three weeks on from the earthquake, the situation in Kashmir continues to be a cause of grave concern. The 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck close to Muzaffarabad on 8 October is known to have caused more than 68,000 deaths in India & Pakistan, the vast majority being in Pakistani administered Kashmir. More than 2.5 million people have been made homeless, or put at risk due to collapsed roads and other damage to essential infrastructure. The UN fear that as many as 100,000 could die in the next few months alone unless shelter, food, medical care and supplies are brought to them.
On 21 October the CMF emailed its members with an appeal for aid. In just ten days CMF members have given over £30,000 towards the costs of providing essential supplies and medical care to those affected by the tragedy. 'We are greatly moved by the response of our members, many of whom have given very generously, not only of their money, but also of their time' said Steven Fouch, CMF's Allied Professions Secretary, “Although it is only a small contribution to the effort, we know that what our members have given already will help to save many hundreds of lives.'
“500,000 people in remote areas, however, have yet to receive any aid at all” continued Fouch “the situation continues to be dire, and much remains to be done. Fears are mounting of a second wave of deaths from untreated injuries and exposure”. Estimates suggest that 2.5 million people could be at risk due to the lack of shelter as the harsh Himalayan winter sets in. “£30,000 will help around two hundred families to survive by supplying them with winterised tents and essential supplies.” said Fouch.
CMF members working in the region have been in touch to convey some of the tragedies being lived out in Kashmir. 'Since the earthquake,” wrote one member, “Our 50-bed hospital has already treated several hundred injured people and we currently have more than 100 in-patients. Some of our patients simply have nowhere to go and are living in tents set up in front of the hospital.
The rush of acute trauma has decreased, but we are now getting patients with late injuries who have in many cases been given inadequate treatment. Many wounds are infected. A ten-year-old girl had surgery for a broken leg in a hospital near us. She came to us near death with muscle spasms from a tetanus infection in the surgical site. We were forced to amputate her leg. The day after she arrived we found the tetanus anti-toxin she needed among some donated medicines. She is slowly recovering. Only she and her mother survived the earthquake.”
“This is just a small glimpse of the scale of human tragedy we are facing in the region.” said CMF General Secretary, Peter Saunders. “We urge the Christian community to continue to dig deep and give generously to help alleviate the widespread suffering that has been caused.”
Donors can give on-line at www.cmfrelief.givengain.org.
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668
Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225
Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.