FCF Project: New Horizons Student Interchange

Written by FCF Project Manager, Arthur Lindfield

(For more photos, click here.)

I am temporarily back at home after 10 days in the earthquake zone, Bhuj and Gandhidahm. The greatest need still is tents and blankets and 4 wheel drive vehicles or the use of vehicles to distribute these items to the outlying villages where little or no aid is getting through. I'm here trying to get the use of a jeep at this moment. We can purchase a 2nd hand reliable 4 wheel drive jeep/truck for about $5-7,000. Tents, average for an 8 man canvas tent, is about $90 each. Wool blankets we can find for $2.50 each. We already donated our tent to a needy family and have been sleeping in a car for a few nights.

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Art Lindfield and team.

Just after the quake hit, I spent two days traveling to the earthquake zone with a team of doctors, nurses, and attendants who are manning a four car train hospital known as the Life Line Express. This is normally parked in Bombay and used for polio camps, eye camps, and cleft lip operations in different villages around India.

Representing Family Care Foundation, my initial job on the team was to locate a site which would be practical to park this unit. Unfortunately most of the infrastructure of this area no longer exists. In Gujurat alone, the railway authorities are facing 20 million dollars damage for railway buildings alone. So we parked on the edge of an industrial shunting yard which did not have any facilities as you can imagine, so in 7 days we ran in 35KW of power, sanitation facilities, 22 bed recovery ward based in a Border Security Force tent. In unfamiliar territory, it has been, in the midst of this disaster, an awful lot of leg work day and night. (We are a 5-man team in this particular area. Other FCF Project Managers and their teams of volunteers are working in separate nearby towns.)

After 7 days we had the air conditioned operating theater and auxiliary units up and running and already have treated 75 patients, some with major operations. The most common injury has been crushed pelvises and broken extremities, broken legs and arms, etc. Respiratory infections are now a major crisis and infections in general are a tremendous challenge.

We had the western representative of Red Cross visit our installation and participated in our inaugural prayer which was very touching. We also spent time traveling to Bhuj which is 60 km north on a number of occasions attending meetings to co-ordinate our efforts and request equipment and medication and an orthopedic surgeon for the Life Line Express.

We have a team of two still there in Gujarat scouting out for phase two of our vision which is to work with outlying villages, bringing shelter, warm clothing, basic medication and first aid, food, and spiritual encouragement to people who haven't received anything, even yet. We gave our personal tent to a family with 3 small daughters, who had nothing at all.

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The photo we include here is of a young boy who lost his family and saved his life by jumping off the balcony two stories to the ground. The metal wreckage in the background is the family car.

Since we have been here we have experienced 250 major after shocks, some up to 5.4 on the Richter scale which have left the population here very traumatized and fearful of going into any building. They would rather stay in the fields than go near any structure. The greatest need we encounter is the comforting of these people, even though we are a different race completely, just a hug and smile is a great encouragement.

Our vision is to build a tent village where we can base from and offer comfort, recreational activates, musical therapy, schooling, etc. for children and families. This base will also be used for our supply of people's needs, our registration and transportation of patients to the Life Line Express and just being there for the people. Our teens will be participating in these camps in the next months.

Please pray for all our health, as well as the victims, as when the temperatures increase, the risk of communicable diseases increase too. The temperature at night has been down to 3 degrees centigrade and these people are living on the streets with barely enough to keep themselves warm.

E-mail and telephones are not available yet in the area. We need a cell phone as there are only a few working phones in the area and in the outlying districts, none at all.