West Sumatra Earthquake: The survivors from the Rubble

22 10 2009

It’s always been amazing to hear the courageous story of the survivor of a disaster. Three years ago I was in Aceh for another disaster relief with the UN, and one of the drivers was a survivor and lost his wife and newborn right before his hand, washed away by the tsunami.  But I’m not going to tell about his story this time. It’s the story of these women and a young girl who survived and surviving the earthquake few weeks ago.

We were talking a time to send our report to the headquarter from a gentle invitation from IOM West Sumatra, the we met again dr. Zenaeda Nihill of IOM’s medical team who’s leading the Patients Transporting project. A very radiant medical doctor I must say, every conversation with her would be so much alive. Then out of nowhere we had plan an afternoon impromptu to M. Djamil Hospital in Padang city.

IMG00159-20091019-1557M. Djamil is a state-run hospital, in which its Cardiovascular Center collapsed and some of its wings got severely damaged by the earthquake. So dr. Zen got us to the Orthopedic Surgery ward and got some assistance from ward’s nurses.

There were several other patients here together with the quake casualties. Some got amputated, some got minor fracture, but most of them suffer from major fracture. Doctor from Russia and Indonesia work together hand-in-hand to safe their limb.

From this ward there was 1 survivor that caught my tears away, as what will IMG00158-20091019-1527she faced will be so much devastating and changed her life. For a morality reason her picture will not going to be published here. She was in Ambacang Hotel for a conference that afternoon when the earthquake happens. She jumped from the 3rd floor and a concrete wall hit on her. The Search and Rescue team found her alive after 48 hours without food or water.

She suffered an orbital fracture and pelvic fracture. She lost her sight ever since, her ability to talk is decreasing as well as coordination of body limbs.

Photo courtesy of dr. Zenaida Nihill, IOM West Sumatra

Photo courtesy of dr. Zenaida Nihill, IOM West Sumatra

The second ward we visited is the children care ward. Her name is Indah, a 9 year’s old little girl. She suffered a serious fracture on both legs, as a metal fence fell off on her. She has passed some surgery, and few other series of surgery to fix her legs. A metal fixator has been installed in her both legs.

These patience’ will face a serious healing process that involved series of surgery, physiotherapy sessions, and what they urgently need is psychosocial support. A visit after now and then, gentle touch and light talks will help them to recover as their life will never be the same again.




One response

24 10 2009
Syalomi Natalia

thanks Ilham for putting the story in a beautiful way, so touching indeed!..keep sharing and let the humanitarian works up there meet its bigger impact! well done

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