In April 2015, the catastrophic earthquake that struck Nepal sparked a series of avalanches especially in areas near Mount Everest, killing over 9,000 people and leaving more than 20,000 people injured. Rescue works have been underway ever since with emergency needed aid committed by the international community. However, long term capacity building work is still lacking. HIA’s Solukhumbu Operation 2016 aims to empower local communities and to build up a sustainable disaster response system in Solukhumbu region. The ultimate goal is to help the community to build up a sustainable local emergency response system and primary health care program.
Our Initial Response
As early as 3 May 2015, in response to a request made by a group of Nepalese in Hong Kong with community health background, HIA co-jointed with Hong Kong Red Cross to provide a psychological first aid training to 21 Nepalese. More than 10 of them delivered the skills back in their own country to cater the huge need of post-disaster mental stress.
Health Needs Identified
The differences between city and rural area are huge and health service at rural area is further dampened by the earlier earthquakes. Women and child health had been major concerns, while malnutrition remains common. Poor hygiene and communicable diseases are also endemic. Injury-related health problems had been among the top priorities. Worse still, the country has been facing a fuel crisis since September 2015 due to blockade which some say was imposed by India for political pressure, resulting in economic and humanitarian crisis.
Our Aim – First Aid Training & Exploration of Sustainable Solutions to Local Health Needs
The aim of the Solukhumbu Operation is to empower local communities to build up a sustainable disaster response system. To begin with, a combined Basic First Aid and Psychological First Aid training will be delivered to remote mountain villagers, with supply of first aid kits to cover the need of 15 villages in Solukhumbu. The district spans through 20sqkm, from 2,800m to 4,300m, covering more than 1,500 households and more than 6,000 population. Our training will target local villagers, school teachers and youth in order to empower them with skills on handling emergency conditions. Through training, preparation of future disaster response will be achieved via building community connections, communication system, and a sense of mutual help. Local partners in the mountains and from the country will be explored and established to ensure that the program is sustainable. Identified health gaps during the trip will lay the base for planning future community health programs.