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NSKK NEWSLETTER distributed by
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai
(Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan)
Life in the tent village
Photo No. : P060403-14
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Overview of Shohal Tent Village
Photo No. : P060403-15
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Doctor and nurses in BHU (Basic Health Unit)
Photo No. : P060403-16
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Medical Activity by St. Lukeís International Hospital in Northern Pakistan
Shinya Samuel Yawata, Secretary of PIM, in NSKK
JAPAN 060403-3
April 3, 2006

[The Nippon Sei Ko Kai - Japan] I accompanied medical teams of St. Lukeís International Hospital in Tokyo to offer a medical assistance in a tent village which is located near Balakot of northern Pakistan between November 18 through December 5, 2005. The area was hit by earthquake in October 8, 2005 and the damage is very severe. Balakot is located about 150km north of Pakistanís capital, Islamabad and it is a beautiful town in a mountain area.

Temperature difference between night and day is very large because of high altitude of about 1300m. During daytime it was comfortable with just wearing a t-shirt but there was a frost in nighttime.

The place where the teams engaged in medical activity is a temporary shelter of a tent village, which is located 10km south of Balakot. The village has 180 tents and its population is roughly 1300. It is one of the larger tent villages in the area.

Refugees of the quake in the area have come to the village after losing their homes. They are given all necessary item for daily life such as sleeping mats and blankets, clothes, foods (flour, rice, cooking oil, etc), and cooking utensils upon arrival. The Pakistani Army is in charge of security and management of the village. Bread-like things are given at each meal, so necessities for their daily life are basically available free of charge. In each tent there are 5 to 10 people of the same family.

Right after the quake, needs for emergency medical treatment was plentiful. But when our teams arrived at the scene 6 weeks after the quake the situation has settled and we had about 30 patients daily on an average. Most symptoms are normal cold and problem with respiratory organs, and some people needed aftercare for wounds and broken bones.

We visited the town of Balakot, which has been severely damaged. There might have been lots of multi-level buildings before the quake but almost all buildings have been destroyed. The positive side is that people have already started shops and stores right next to damaged structures; grocery stores, fruits stands, souvenir shops, etc. I was amazed and pleased with these signs of a strong desire for survival.

We went to visit a mountain village as well. We rode a battered old four-wheel-drive jeep through very narrow mountain terrain to get there. There are about 60 families in the village. All structures have been completely destroyed, and all families were living in a temporary shelter. This village has been supported by the diocese of Pashawar immediately after the quake, and the person in charge of this operation was worrying about how they could survive through the cold winter.

In addition to medical support these people need support for daily needs such as secured water supply, security for health and hygiene, education for children. In order to materialize these requirements human resources such as specialists for well-drilling, medical staff (both doctors and nurses), and monetary resources are needed. This means that we need to look into a longer-term support.

I was very impressed with highly motivated and dedicated young professionals of St. Lukeís International Hospital. It was very fortunate for me to work with these professionals and it was very worthy experience.