Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan
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Debriefing - St. John's Medical College Gujarat Earthquake Relief Team Report (January-February 2001)
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  1. Introduction
  2. Preparation
  3. Field Activities
  4. Debriefing
  5. Identified Needs for the future
  6. Profile of team members
  7. Supplies
  8. Coordination with other groups
  9. Future Plans
  10. Thoughts
  11. Acknowledgements


The team debriefing was vital for the NGO group to plan ahead. This team was a vital field link in determining medical needs in the area. There assessment of the situation, identification of needs and report allowed for decisions based on facts in the field. Medical problems and needs were defined based on above information. Medical needs for the future would be nursing care of posttraumatic injuries, dressings of wounds, detection and management of infections. Exposure related illnesses like Respiratory infections are on the rise needing basic clinical diagnosis and simple antibiotics. Poor sanitation is leading to potential diarrhea though only a couple of patients reported with this illness. Psychosocial problems are to be expected in the future with people loosing family members as well as everything they have ever owned. As a consequence of this trauma, physical and mental, immediate problems of shock, tension, anxiety, panic, relief and disorientation may be seen. This in turn will lead to a disabling post disaster grief, apathy, unresponsiveness, guilt and the post trauma stress disorder. A team from NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences) was already activated and this teams feedback has added to evidence of their need to intervene in the next few weeks. They have left to assess and coordinate these special post trauma problems by training local personnel in dealing with such situations. Malnutrition and other specific nutritional deficiencies may be the future especially for women and children among the displaced population if food supplies/distribution are not streamlined. Rehabilitation may be needed up to a period of three years. In the past week there have been approximately 6000 doctors in the Kutch area alone and volunteers are becoming a burden to an already stretched infrastructure. The need today is not to blindly go in now but to wait till the specific need arises. Medical Supplies are in plenty with excellent neighbors, roads and airport facilities. This too has become a burden with people painstakingly sitting down to make inventories of all supplies. We may have a situation where the mass of volunteers and supplies has actually been detrimental to the progress of disaster relief from rescue to the intermediate phase of temporary shelters, provision of food and drinking water, sanitation apart from medical team support at this stage. In the next few weeks these observations will change and needs may differ.