In the wake of Nepal’s earthquake and avalanche, which left thousands dead and hundreds of climbers stranded on Everest and other mountains, Global Rescue has spent the last 5 days responding to more than 100 requests for help. As one of the first responders on site in Lukla, our personnel triaged more than 200 humanitarian cases arriving by helicopter from the Mt. Everest region, working to support Nepalese government and other aid workers handle the very large number of cases.
We have deployed teams of paramedics and former military special operations personnel to Nepal and have executed over 45 rescues, evacuation and support operations.
Global Rescue Senior Specialist and paramedic Andy Fraser was preparing to provide support during the Himalayan climbing season and was among the foreigners in Nepal who experienced the earthquake. Andy, who works out of Global Rescue’s Bangkok Operations Center, specializes in remote area work and recently spent six months working in Zambia helping to train police, fire brigade and safari guides in wilderness trauma medicine. Andy previously served as a member of the Solo Rapid Response Unit with the London Ambulance Service, and has worked throughout in the Middle East and China.
Below Andy shares some thoughts on being one of the first responders in the midst of the devastation.
Tell us about your experience immediately after the quake struck.
I was in Lukla at first light on Sunday morning, triaging sherpas and climbers being brought down from Everest. It was relentless, lasting approximately six hours, with helicopters constantly bringing in casualties. I triaged in the helicopters and policemen stretchered the victims into the airport building which we had been commandeered and made into a field hospital.
What types of injuries were you seeing?
The injuries were traumatic in nature due to the avalanche – lots of fractured legs, arms, backs, necks and head injuries. Dr. Monica from Lukla hospital and I ran the operation. We triaged approximately 200 cases in 24 hours.
How is morale for those involved in the rescue effort, yourself included?
I can’t speak for others, many who are just arriving in the last day. For me, it’s just heartbreaking for the sherpas after last year.
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