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Acharya Tulasi Jain Charitable Hospital
Medical Relief to Sunami Victims of Naggapatinam
Date : - 02/01/2005
Aid effort to the tsunami affected areas of Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu January 2nd January 5th 2005
As images of destruction, wrought by the waves from the Indian Ocean, filled televisions and newspapers across the world, teams from across the world rushed to help those affected. As the death toll mounted and stories of devastation and damage percolated out of the affected areas, Dr. Venkatesh, Emergency Physician, Sagar Apollo Hospital, began planning and organizing a team to aid in the relief efforts. To date, more than 2.5 lakh people are feared missing or dead in the tsunami affected regions with more than 10, 000 deaths reported from India. Apart from the Andamans, one of the most affected areas in India was the district of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, about 600 km from Bangalore

As the scale of the disaster began to become obvious, aid from around the world began to pour in to the region. In India, within two weeks of the disaster the Prime Ministers Relief Fund had received close to 350 crores. At the Sagar Group, all the employees pledged a days wages to the Chief Ministers Relief fund and consultants at the flagship Sagar Apollo Hospital contributed close to 2 lakhs towards purchase of drugs and dressings to be carried by the team going to Nagapattinam.

After a hectic four days of planning and organizing, Dr Venkatesh put together a team which included volunteer junior doctors from Victoria Hospital, Dr Agni and team from Rajshekar Hospital, Bangalore and a contingent of about 15 staff from Sagar Apollo Hospital. A convoy of five vehicles was put together to carry the motley crew, drugs and water from Bangalore
Nagapattinam is the district capital and is a village which had, until recently, 350 fishing vessels. Pepsico India had arranged for their local dealer to make arrangements for our stay and to help organize our efforts. Our first camp was at Krishna Nagar, where, with help from the Lions Club of Nagapattinam, we attended to about 500 patients. Dr. Jagdish Chandra and Dr. Kishore Subbaiah worked tirelessly and set a wonderful example for the younger doctors who were with the team
On our second day, we were quite literally smuggled into the most affected area of Nagapattinam Akkarapet. The team worked for about four hours without a break and was able to provide attention to about 750 villagers. Having set up base in the heart of the disaster zone we were visited by the local MP, the IG of Police and members of the media. In the evening we visited a temple which was being used as a makeshift refuge and were able to reach out to about 250 people.

As we reflect back on our 1200 km round trip, we have to acknowledge that our trip probably didnt save any lives. Of the 1500 odd patients we attended to, about 250 needed wound debridement and surgical attention while the rest complained of the usual aches and pains, coughs and colds one would routinely see at a medical camp. Although everyone was given water and ORS packets, they probably turned up at the camp to be reassured by a doctor. Much like we went there to reassure ourselves that we indeed cared for our fellow man.
Reference : - www.sagarapollo.com
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