Doctor travels to Nepal to help with earthquake relief effort

An NHS Lothian doctor, sent to Nepal as part of an earthquake aid mission, has spoken of the harrowing scenes witnessed by rescuers.

Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Richard Lyon, is working as part of a specialist unit of more than 60 search and rescue experts, firemen, medics, and engineers, flown out to the region by the UK international Search & Rescue Team (ISAR).

In an update sent to colleagues at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Richard said: “The humanitarian impact here is enormous with many deceased in the streets when we arrived, limited power supply and water in the city running very low. Aid is arriving steadily, with the limitation of Kathmandu airport having a very small apron space.

“There have been several rescues early in the week but hope for trapped survivors is now fading.

“We are focussing on medical support, especially to some remote villages, some of which can only be reached by air. The local response we get when arriving in small, unaided villages can be overwhelming. Watching locals digging out loved ones with bare hands really hits home. I treated some of the avalanched Everest victims – many of whom had amazing survival tales.”

Based in Kathmandu, the team has experienced several aftershocks which have given a small hint at how terrifying the earthquake, which is believed to have killed approximately 6000 people when it struck last Saturday, must have been.

Richard, whose career at home sees him working as part of Medic One​, a highly specialised medical team who respond to emergency incidents, said: “The imminent arrival of more Gurkhas and Chinook helicopters will be invaluable.

“It can be hard work, especially with the heat and humidity and I'm rapidly getting used to functioning on three hours sleep.”

Leaving London on Sunday 26th April, the UK ISAR team arrived in Nepal with 12 tons of rescue, medical and humanitarian kit.​