Bangalow GP's disaster relief experience in Nepal
A BANGALOW GP who travelled to Nepal to assist with disaster relief has told how she was stuck in Kathmandu when the second earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.3, hit.
"It was very terrifying," said Dr Bronwyn Hudson, who was part of an aid effort co-ordinated by International Medical Relief, an organisation based in Colorado in the United States.
The teams are made up of doctors, nurses, paramedics and logisticians who are self-funded and take their own supplies including tents, food and water, bedding, equipment and medicines.
"We were on the first floor of a restaurant in Thamel, a neighbourhood in Kathmandu, when the quake struck and the momentum of people rushing to get out carried us down the stairs.
"We huddled in an intersection until the quake stopped but all around us there were bricks falling off buildings and people running out into narrow streets."
Those around them were shaking and sobbing, confusion and shock about what had just happened reigning.
The earthquake, on May 12, struck in east Kathmandu, killing at least 48 people and injuring 1,000. It followed the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on April 25.
Dr Hudson said she was able to get news to her family and friends in Australia quite quickly that she was okay, and while she was frightened, "it enabled my team to get a real appreciation for the experience of the Nepali people".
During her time in the city, she said she was in awe of the skills and dedication of the local medical community. "Sometimes there is an attitude with foreign aid that 'we know best'. But Nepal has incredible doctor and nurses."
At work within an hour of arriving in Kathmandu on May 4, Dr Hudson provided assistance with emergency medication, mental health problems and chronic health conditions. She scrambled over landslides and endured the several aftershocks to reach affected villages, often exhausted from 16 hour days.
"So many houses were just rubble," she said. "Given the amount of destruction it's amazing that the death toll remains below 10,000. For this, the Nepalis see themselves as lucky."
Dr Hudson raised more than $9,000 for her trip through crowd funding as well as the efforts of the Bangalow community. She wants to thank Bangalow Dental, Bangalow Public School, the Italian Diner, Sammi K Health and Fitness and the Kingscliff Beach Hotel and anyone who would still like to help the Nepalese and donate at http://e.gofund.me/t5ghs6x