Israeli paramedics in Nepal: ‘Houses just vanished’
Magen David Adom delegation to Kathmandu deals with broken bones, abdominal and chest issues, stitches
Magen David Adom paramedics in Kathmandu are dealing with a sea of serious injuries following the 7.8 earthquake in Nepal on Saturday, which killed more than 4,000 people and injured over 6,000.
“Everyone is outside sleeping in the streets, everything is dark, and everywhere you can see ruins of houses that are partly broken or vanished,” said Ravit Martinez, a 35-year-old MDA paramedic from Kibbutz Erez who arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday evening.
Martinez is part of a delegation of eight doctors and paramedics who are staying at the Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu and will be working in cooperation with the International Red Cross. The MDA paramedics will likely work at the Nepalese military hospital or the Israel Defense Force field hospital, which will be built nearby.
The IDF field hospital, currently en route from Israel, can be constructed within 12 hours and will serve up to 200 patients per day.
“We treated children with abdominal and chest injuries, and lots of broken legs and arms,” Martinez told The Times of Israel via satellite phone. “We did stitches everywhere, stitches in places like ears, eyes and faces. It’s not very sanitary and clean, but this is the field, and this is what we have.”
On Monday, the MDA team visited a Nepali hospital in central Kathmandu and then worked at the Nepali military hospital, which is currently operating out of tents. “Everyone is suffering from injuries and waiting for operations,” said Martinez. “The main issue is waiting for operation rooms. They have most of the supplies they need, but they still need bandages and medical equipment that are usually used in surgery.”
She noted, however, that some of the capital now has running water. Other members of the delegation said the situation seemed less chaotic than the earthquake in Haiti, after which MDA also sent an early delegation.
“It’s hard to describe the dimensions and magnitude of this disaster that struck Nepal. The amount of injuries and fatalities is unimaginable,” paramedic Ilan Klein said in a statement.
MDA arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday night with a delegation of 15 doctors and paramedics, including director Eli Bin. Seven of the paramedics returned to Israel on Sunday with some of the Israeli babies born to Nepalese surrogates. On Monday evening, there were still eight babies awaiting transport to Israel, some of whom were born premature.
Martinez added that the Israelis they visited in Kathmandu are not badly injured, though there are still dozens of Israelis that have not made contact with the authorities or their families.
“In the hospitals, it seems to be under a kind of control,” Martinez said. “They have a shortage of equipment, but they are managing. In Kathmandu, it’s not as bad as places around Kathmandu. Some places you can’t get to because the roads are blocked, and there it’s much worse. Hopefully the Red Cross and the military can bring the injured to Kathmandu,” she added.