CRF Medical Team #2, deployed to Islamabadon October 14, led by Deborah Exelby (Victoria, B.C., paramedic), have been camped out in Piniale for the past day holding clinics. "Not much medical aid had arrived at this town yet. Some minor amputations were performed (toes, etc.) due to wound complications and the team has treated almost 100 patients in the past 24 hours," Said Deborah Exelby by satellite phone from the field. Team #2 reports that the emergency medical need is apparently quickly winding down with a majority of severe casualties now being airevac to advanced medical centers. Majority of aid now is 'Primary Health' and 'Mental Health' related, although a few serious infections and semi healed fractures and compound fractures are still being seen. Two team members have departed to work with the Pakistan Military in carrying out a Search and Rescue mission north of Piniale today. Team #2 plans to return to Bagh this evening and further assess needs there before returning to Islamabad.
Team #3 will be departing on Friday from TorontoPearsonAirportand will be deployed until November 18 in Islamabad. This team consists of the following members: Valerie Rzepka (Team Leader/RN with experience in Tsunami relief, Toronto, Ont.), Jason Watt (Medic/RN/journalist, Pakenham, Ontario), Merle Trudel (ACP Paramedic, Calgary, Alberta), Patricia Malloy (Pediatric RN from Sick Kids, Toronto, Ontario), Yasmeen Jabbar (Orthopedic RN, London, Ontario), Anne Healey (CCU nurse, Uxbridge, Ontario), Dr. Fahim Ali (GP/ER physician/Anesthesia, Port Perry, Ontario), and Dr. Talat Chughtai (Trauma Surgeon, Toronto, Ontario). Team #3 will work out of remote hospital wards established in Islamabad by the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) where up to 700 patients (mostly post-op and rehab) will be stationed in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the weather is rapidly deteriorating in Balakot with torrential rains and cold weather. Quake survivors are falling ill with respiratory tract infections and shelter is arriving very slowly with most survivors staying outdoors fully exposed to the elements. Snow is beginning to fall in the mountains.
CRF has accumulated a database of over 350 skilled health care professionals and construction/tradespersons across Canadawhich was generated since the December 26 Asian Tsunami. All are volunteers indicating they would foot their own travel bills and take personal time off work. Numerous volunteers are signing up from the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (www.rnao.org) through an appeal they made to their 23,000 members as well as the Paramedics Association of Canada. CRF Has established Emergency Disaster Response Offices across Canadaincluding Courtenay, British Columbia, Saskatoon, Saskatchewanand Brantford, Ontario.
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CANADIAN RELIEF FOUNDATION (CRF): CRF is a Brantford, Ontario, Canada based non-profit, non-denominational, non-political volunteer-based grassroots organization managed by health care professionals and relief consultants. CRF was established in 1999 in Toronto, Canadaand is a registered charitable organization with the CCRA # 88439 3315 RR0001. CRF is certified in SPHERE Minimum Standards, an ICRC code of conduct for humanitarian disaster assistance, and is currently the only NGO in North Americathat offers this specialized training. CRF implements humanitarian relief projects in Afghanistan, Iraq, Algeria, Bangladesh and other areas devastated by war, conflict or natural disaster. CRF has raised over $790,000 CAD in private cash donations for its projects since 2001. For more information on CRF please visit http://www.canadianrelief.ca. For media inquiries, please call (519) 755-0664.