You Can Bring Hope Amid The Rubble

July 1st, 2008 by INMED

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May 12, 2008. Sichuan Province, China was hit by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake. Human casualties are estimated to be over 71,000 fatalities with over 25,000 injured. Reports suggest that over 5 million people were left homeless and displaced (USAID, 2008).

 

Dr. Jeff DeGraffenreid, featured speaker at the 2008 Disaster Management Symposium, was one of the first expatriates to assist in the relief efforts in Sichuan Province. He reported for duty in Mianyang where thousands of teachers and schoolchildren were trapped under the rubble of their collapsed school buildings. Dr. DeGraffenreid, Chief Programs Officer for Heart To Heart International, worked with his local colleagues to provide search and rescue services, food, medical care, and medical supplies to disaster victims. Working with the Republic of China’s government, Dr. DeGraffenreid was able to secure a major airlift of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals from the USA that arrived in the Sichuan Province 8 days after the initial earthquake.

 

Dr. DeGraffenreid observes that, “Disaster response is about the human touch. Whether it be handing out food, saving someone stuck under rubble, or organizing an airlift of medical supplies. It is about helping people in need.” 

 

Disasters provoke within us a powerful desire to help. But disaster response requires special skills. It also requires establishing connections with emergency organizations so that response can be immediate. Traditional training and medical practice alone provide little to prepare us to adequately respond at a moments notice. Are you prepared for the next mass casualty emergency? Prepare yourself to become one of those special persons equipped to respond to domestic and international disasters.

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