Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Nepal Earthquake and Public Health Perspectives

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Nepal Earthquake and Public Health Perspectives

Article excerpt

Humans have no control over natural calamities which claim thousands of lives every year. On 25 April 2015, Nepal faced a catastrophe of 7.9 magnitude earthquake that leftat least 8,000 people dead and more than 17,000 injured.1 Dense population and taller buildings without approval of safety precautions were some reasons for the greater damage in urban areas, whereas geographical remoteness, dispersion of casualties over a large area and rock avalanches obstructing the roadways were major obstacles in remote locations. Despite the tragedy occurring on a Saturday during which schools, colleges and offices were shut, the entrapment of people within the rubble of collapsed houses led to mass casualties. According to official estimates based on a preliminary report from the Nepal Police,1 houses collapsed completely or partially during the mishap.

The disaster has not only hampered the country's growth and economy - the health sector is also equally affected. Disaster plans in most of the health care centres were unable to hold the patient flow as such a large scale of casualties was not anticipated. With the relief fund and immense help from the police, army and other volunteers in the service of humanity, temporary settlements were arranged under tents. The high-intensity aftershocks raised fears among the health personnel who were treating most of the patients under open roof. Management of the survivors was thus a challenge for the health care personnel. Apart from the obvious physical injuries, the post-traumatic stress of the survivors who lost their loved ones was immense and immeasurable. Lack of food and shelter further compounded the problem. …

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