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Field Hospital in Qingchuan Open to Patients

  • June 18, 2008

The construction and equipping of the field hospital in Qingchuan, China, is complete and the field hospital is now seeing and accepting patients. The 15-bed field hospital, which will serve people in the area hardest hit by last month’s earthquake, is 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 the 7.9-magnitude earthquake and its many aftershocks.

Prior to the construction of the field hospital, Qingchuan’s medical needs were being addressed in improvised structures that could not provide outpatient services. More serious cases had to be referred to the nearest hospital, more than three hours away.

In addition, AmeriCares has extended an offer for a second field hospital in China and we have sent a donation of anesthetics and nutritional supplements for diabetics.

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.

AmeriCares helped build a similar field hospital 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.

“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 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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