Nurse flies out to help earthquake survivors

Community staff nurse Bruce Fraser is in Nepal helping to treat people who are suffering from diseases as a consequence of earthquake devastation.
Community staff nurse Bruce Fraser is in Nepal helping to treat people who are suffering from diseases as a consequence of earthquake devastation.
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A community nurse is spending the whole of his summer break helping survivors of two devastating earthquakes in Nepal.

Bruce Fraser, who lives in Widdrington, is working in the devastated villages around the small town of Melamchi.

It is estimated that more than 9,000 people died and hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless following the Gorkha earthquake in April and a second earthquake in Sindhupalchowk a few weeks later.

Now the monsoon rains are threatening any fragile stability the villagers have found.

Mr Fraser is volunteering for a non-government organisation called Childreach Nepal.

“The big problem facing the survivors, on top of everything else they are suffering, is the monsoon rains which started in June,” he said before setting off.

“Whole villages might well be washed down the mountain-side and we could see an increase in diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid – bringing calamity upon calamity following the two devastating earthquakes.”

In his community staff nurse role, Mr Fraser covers Morpeth, Ashington, Blyth and Cramlington and their surrounding villages for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

His 20 years of nursing experience will be placed at the disposal of the medical teams in situ.

He said: “I have sent a list of my medical skills to Childreach Nepal and I will fit in with whatever the medical team needs at the time.

“This is likely to be triaging patients, checking temperatures, pulses and blood pressure, setting up drips, delivering antibiotics and wound care.

“I think the hardest part will be the scale of the suffering and coming to terms with the fact that I can’t help everyone. I am taking advice from experts regarding the conditions, not the least of which is the psychological pressure of working long days with little food and having every chance of picking up one of the communicable diseases.”