Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan
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Eye Witness Account
From St. John Medical Team Report January-February 2001
Medical Relief in Pictures Photo Essay

"…I always had an urge to go to hostile environment and do something to make other mans life little better. I always wondered why such a great magnitude of human suffering for no mistake by any one. Nature must have had some reason. I immediatly accepted the offer though just fourteen days earlier my dad passed away in Bangalore, I had just finished the last rites though I could not be present when my fathers body was creamated by my younger brother. I had a deep feeling that I had missed some thing important in my life till I assisted in the cremation of several bodies of earthquake victims at Bhachau. Ten of us and 1.6 tons of medicines… Dr. T. Venkatesh (Biochemist, High Altitude Mountainer, Team Leader):


Dr. Sr. Annie (Resident Doctor, Medicine):

"…Very painful sight - complete destruction…every person they met had suffered losses… human and material…yet they continued to reach out to help others…especially the teams of volunteers…Orphan children helped …Githish Bhai and Kunthal Bhen, rescued from the rubble on day 6 spoke about how they survived by drinking urine…afraid and dehydrated with pressure sores…Amidst the destruction and death…Joy and hope with the delivery by caesarian of twins…team work, mutual support and encouragement kept spirits up to work in the field…pleasure to work along side the Armed forces field teams…infected wounds, fractures, amputated limbs, especially in children and the elderly especially painful…frequent after shocks were terrifying, initial non acceptance and inability to begin work immediately, heavy load of supplies, lack of communication all added to the level of anxiety and fright…"

Dr. Anand Alladi (Pediatric Surgeon)

"…Few drops in the ocean of relief…a feeling of being useful in our own special way…satisfaction at a job well done…well appreciated by the armed forces medical teams working along side…a very special experience of being able to help people in need when it most matters…"

Dr. Arema Pereira (Intern Obstetrics, Gynecology):

"…an experience of a life time to be able to help people in need…a feeling of being a good doctor to be able to care and use all our healing gifts when most needed…"

Dr. Supriya Cardoza (Intern, Medicine)

"…Rather disturbing initially till it numbed the senses…rubble all around, people sobbing, orphan children with no one to call their own, ugly wounds, mass cremations, people still searching among the wreckage for loved ones, the stench of decomposing human remains…most touching was how people at work together irrespective of wealth, caste, creed, colour, race to help each other…a learning experience…"

Ms Sara Oomen (Specialist Orthopedic Nursing Tutor)

"…Seven days but an experience of a life time…death, destruction, suffering…initially most unpleasant…realization of the possibility of the same happening anywhere else and anytime else…comfort, hospitality, care shown by all around was overwhelming inspite of their own suffering and losses…we have done what we can, in our own little ways, in our own small corner…what happens later?…who will be there to help later…to rebuild lives when all is lost…that is the time to once again show that we still care…"

Dr. George Clarence (Orthopedician)

" …no time to think…reductions of fractures, plasters, dressing wounds, transporting those in need for more help, operating in the field operation theatre…screaming in pain…so much to do…"

Dr. O.P. Sanjay (Anesthesiolgist):

"…the devastation was complete…powerful enough to cripple humanity mentally, physically and emotionally…"

Dr. Olympio D'Souza (Emergency Medicine Physician):

"…good team and mix of all specialities…adequate medicines…amazing that funds, supplies and a team of this nature could be arranged at such short notice…"

Dr. Sanjiv Lewin (Pediatrician, Disaster Relief and Training Unit)

"…We care and so we help…sixty three volunteer names within 27 hours…A friend of St. Johns arranges for financial commitment within eight hours for team support…1.6 tons medical supplies in 5 hours sorted and packed by pharmacy staff…medical students helping with packing…security guards and interns loading…administration sanctioning unconditional loans and permissions…Professors and HAM enthusiastic tracking down team…Janvikas control room assisting 24 hours a day…SPARK the adventure club loaning tents, sleeping bags and rucksacks for team kits…Indian Airlines baggage staff and ground staff most helpful and accommodating…Citizens and corporates helping with finances, supplies, and just being available…a logistic nightmare of sending a team of thirteen along with 1.6 tons of supplies and enough food and water to last more than a couple of days so as not to be a burden on local resources…a great team effort…encouragement for the future…He shall live because of me!…"