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The field hospital in Qingchuan, China, has been built and is expected to be operational by week’s end. The field hospital will serve people in the area hardest hit by the earthquake and will be staffed by local Chinese doctors and equipped by AmeriCares.
Qingchuan Hospital, which had formerly served the region’s 250,000 residents, was damaged beyond use following last month’s 7.9-magnitde earthquake and its many aftershocks. Currently, Qingchuan’s medical needs are being addressed in improvised structures that can only provide outpatient services. More serious cases cannot be treated at the current facilities and must be referred to the nearest hospital, more than three hours away.
AmeriCares emergency response team in Qingchuan is coordinating the response and working with a team of engineers to construct the fully functional field hospital. AmeriCares helped build a similar structure following the earthquake in northern Pakistan in 2005. That field hospital, in Bana, is still operational and sees between 40,000-50,000 patients per year.
Qingchuan is located in a remote area of northern Sichuan Province, the region at the center of the May 12 earthquake. China has suffered more than 4,000 aftershocks since that time, including a number with Qingchuan as the epicenter.
In addition to the field hospital, AmeriCares is planning a donation of water purification supplies to provide clean water to more than 30,000 children in 34 schools in the affected areas, as well as a donation of anesthetics and nutritional supplements for diabetics to Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.
“It will take many years for the people, infrastructure and landscape of China to fully recover from the destruction created by the recent earthquake,” said Curt Welling, president and CEO of AmeriCares. “AmeriCares staff and partners on the ground in China are working tirelessly to support the initial recovery efforts and to develop plans for the ongoing health care needs in the affected regions. We are very proud to deliver and equip the field hospital, which will be instrumental in providing long-term care to the victims of this devastating disaster.”
The field hospital, a product of Blu-Med Response Systems, follows AmeriCares initial emergency shipment of medicines, medical supplies and blankets to the affected areas, which arrived May 22. The shipment was among the first aid to Chinese earthquake victims provided by international private organizations.
Millions of people in the Sichuan Province have been left homeless in the aftermath of the country’s worst natural disaster in 30 years, and estimates have placed the number of dead and missing at 87,000. Sichuan Province is located in Southwest China and is a densely populated region with more than 85 million residents.
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