The Role of Doctors during Natural Calamities
Almost all the natural calamities lead to disaster and cause heavy damage. Many people die. Thousands and thousands struggle for life and the huge number of people suffers from severe injuries. The injured people need immediate treatment. Those who suffer from moderate injury need normal treatment. The services of a doctor are very important to provide immediate treatment in all the cases. It is the doctor who can save life of thousands and thousands of people during natural calamities. He can also save a victim from becoming handicapped by providing timely treatment to him. It is the doctor who can treat and make the people fit speedily in the cases of moderate injuries. In the event of natural calamities, the medical services are provided all over the affected area and within the minimum time allowed. The responsibility of a doctor is very crucial. He ensures that no victim, who needs medical facility, goes unnoticed.
During recent years the country has suffered with floods, where thousands and thousands lost their lives and a large number of people were injured. There was also the outbreak of cholera and other epidemics in the flood affected areas of Delhi, Bihar and Assam. The areas of Darbhanga, Madhubani, Sahara, Munger, Nalanda and maximum parts of Bihar–Nepal border were worst affected. That was the time when the doctors played a remarkable role in treating the victims. Doctors from all over the country participated in the operation at that very time. A good number of doctors was also deputed from all the three services of Armed Forces, who set up an example of extreme degree of medical services under critical and odd situations. They had shown that their foremost aim was to save the lives of those, who were struggling because of serious wounds. They hardly took rest when they were driving their efforts to exercise control over cholera and other epidemics which spread over after the flood. A number of leaders from respective States and the centre visited the flood affected areas and they realised the necessity of quick medical services as an important part of disaster management.
An earthquake is another natural] calamity which shakes the earth violently. It is more dangerous for causing loss of life. Recently there was a terrible earthquake in LaturKillhari belt of Maharashtra. The earthquake was so violent that thousands of houses collapsed in a moment. About thirty thousand people were killed and fifty thousand people were vicitimized due to serious injuries in the earthquake which occurred at one stroke. It was the most devastating tragedy of the century. Terrified people ran out of their houses and remained in the open sky due to fear of fresh tumors. The doctors of the country took this task energetically by establishing their mobile cure camps and worked day and night for treatment and controlling the situation. The eye-witnesses and victims themselves came out appreciating the performance of doctors, nurses and other medical assistants. They played a very active role not only for treating the people but also in providing most essential things like blankets, treated water, food and medicine in a very fast manner to meet the requirement of the people of that area. Many doctors and medical workers were decorated with national awards for their extraordinary performances shown during the disaster.
When India was celebrating 52nd republic day on 26 January, 2001, there was a heavy earthquake in Bhuj, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar and other places in Gujarat. A large number of houses collapsed within a moment. The whole world looked stunned at the enormity of devastation. It was a big unprecedented disaster. The death count climbed about one lakh with more than two lakhs who were injured due to the worst earthquake of that day. The doctors worked day and night in the life saving operation. A number of medical camps were also established to treat and operate the wounded persons. Maximum number of -specialists, general practitioners, para medical staff and nurses from armed forces also reached immediately at the affected areas. They participated in the rescue operation and conducted emergency operations. Despite the lack of operation theatres, the doctors carried out operations at the temporary tent age accommodation. The role of doctors was appreciable in treating all kind of injured persons at the site as well as in relief camps.
The role of doctors, during other natural calamities such as cyclone that hit the Andhra coast in 1977, earthquakes in Uttarkashi, Jabalpore and many parts of Maharashtra during 1993, and cyclone that hit in Orissa during 1998, was exemplary throughout all the rescue operations, demonstrated in all these affected areas.
The most dangerous Tsunami disaster hit in various parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar on 24 December, 2004 in which a large number of people, majority of which was fishermen, were killed and uncounted number were injured or became homeless. The teams of doctors from different parts of the country were dropped in all the affected areas to provide immediate medical services to all the victims. They did their job even after facing a number of dangers, while rescuing and treating the wounded persons. There was a fear of the disaster being repeated for many days but the doctors who were deployed at the site continued working very courageously.
When many people were injured on 26 July, 2005 during the flood caused due to heavy rain on that very day in Mumbai, the doctors played a remarkable role in treating and saving the injured people in a very critical situation when the whole Mumbai including hospitals was submerged in the water. The doctors also handled the situations, which rose due to epidemics after flood, very competently.
The role of doctors during the natural calamities is foremost when the disaster hit the populace. This community has been recognised as very important. They treat wounded persons and save their life under very critical situations and stress.
The services of a doctor, in all the areas affected due to the natural calamities or the famine, start at first initially for saving the injured people and subsequently treating those suffering from transferable diseases. Many more people would have died during the floods, earthquakes and the cyclones if timely and adequate medical care could not have been provided to the injured people.
Seeing various disasters which have occurred and the way the situations were handled during the recent past in our country, it is experienced that there is a need to set up a disaster management in the various cities that could be potential in tackling the situations which are caused due to flood, earthquake, cyclone and so on. The disaster management force consisting a specific team of trained doctors with required medicines and other essentials would be able in providing rescue operation and medical cover to the victims without loss of time. Such management will be much more effective, during the tragedy of unprecedented magnitude, by undertaking the task timely and on a war-footing.