Nurse helps quake survivors in Nepal

Staff nurse Bruce Fraser with baby Thomas and family in Panichaur village, Nepal.
Staff nurse Bruce Fraser with baby Thomas and family in Panichaur village, Nepal.

A community nurse from Northumberland has dedicated his summer holiday to helping survivors after two devastating earthquakes in Nepal.

Staff nurse Bruce Fraser, who covers areas around Blyth, Cramlington, Ashington and Morpeth for Northumbria Healthcare, travelled to the Himalayas in July to provide medical care to villagers in Sindhupalchowk district.

He travelled first to meet Childreach Nepal for a day of cultural awareness training and then on to the Red Cross field hospital in Chautara, where he met up with interpreter and guide Umesh, who took him to his home village of Panichaur, at the centre of one of the worst affected areas.

Bruce said: “We knew that every village in the area had been devastated and, to date, no medical assistance had been able to reach them.

“Families are living under tarpaulins or sheets of corrugated tin in insanitary conditions, with several generations, and their livestock, crammed together under one makeshift roof.”

Every day Bruce and Umesh loaded up medical supplies and set off to trek on foot for two or three hours deep into the mountains to try to reach villages levelled by the earthquake. He saw more than 150 people with a range of conditions including open wounds and suspected typhoid.

Bruce said: “Most people had never seen a doctor or nurse in their lives, relying mostly on herbal medicines. They expected nothing, but they were so grateful that they had not been forgotten.”