When an earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday, April 25, two Brigham and Women’s Hospital faculty members were in Achham District, in the far west of Nepal, about 200 miles from the epicenter. Duncan Maru, MD, PhD, and Dan Schwarz, MD, MPH, both of the BWH Division of Global Health Equity, were in Nepal working for Possible, a partner program of the Division of Global Health Equity based in Achham District. The staff at Possible felt the earthquake’s powerful tremors and aftershocks, but fortunately all are safe. As lines of communication were re-established later in the weekend, Possible’s staff members communicated with family and friends in other parts of Nepal, all of whom were thankfully safe. While Achham District gracefully sustained itself through the earthquake with no reported loss of life, buildings, or farmland, the same cannot be said for the rest of the country.
The death toll now stands at over 5,000 and more than 10,000 have been injured in this country of 30 million. These numbers will climb in the coming days as rescue teams reach the more rural districts closer to the earthquake’s epicenter. These areas were already marginalized prior to the earthquake, and the media has paid little attention to them so far. Preliminary reports on social media and from various local organizations indicate that up to 80-90% of homes and buildings have been destroyed in some communities in Gorkha, Lamjung, and Sindhupalchowk Districts, among others. The scope of the devastation is astounding. Continue reading “After Earthquake, BWHers Coordinate Relief Efforts in Nepal”