NEWS

Nepal earthquake: Rescuers worry, plan on flight to Kathmandu

04/28/2015 09:25 EDT | Updated 08/01/2015 05:59 EDT
CBC News senior correspondent Adrienne Arsenault is en route to Kathmandu, Nepal, scene of the earthquake Saturday that killed more than 4,000 people. The magnitude 7.8 quake devastated central Nepal from Mount Everest to Kathmandu.

​Again. Trying again. 

It is a substantially larger plane trying once more to get from Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu this Tuesday. This flight is now packed with relief workers and Nepalese citizens. Their cell phones are already burning up as they sort logistics; even as they waited to take off.

For medical staff on board here like Doctors Without Borders the concern rightly seems about getting to villages beyond Kathmandu. Many of them already have small helicopter pads. That's good. But others are at least a day's walk from the road head. And they are in areas already prone to landslides.

Every aftershock makes it worse. It is otherwise beautiful steep terrain. 

But if you're in charge of getting help to them there's a lot to sort out. How do you, say, set up an inflatable field hospital on terraced terrain? 

It's not like Haiti or the Asian tsunami with flat stretches to accommodate the temporary clinics and surgical units. Plus they know there are particular injuries to watch for. In earthquakes, crush injuries are the obvious concern. Than can mean amputations and serious damage to organs. 

Kidney specialists are and will be key, at least that's the instinct from the Doctors Without Borders worker thinking and planning onboard. 

There is also a worried face from the World Food Program.

There are uniformed rescue teams with patches showing South African and Swiss flags. And then there is the giant Montreal Canadiens flag draped across the knapsack of a Quebec-born, Alberta-trained paramedic. The Fleur-de-lis is sticking out of her backpack pocket. She's wearing a Habs T-shirt. Of course. There's a vision of home far away.

She is Ginette Traversy. 

She's a compact, bright-faced, giant-hearted woman. She is alone, as in not with an NGO. As in, she paid for her own ticket to Kathmandu.

She is strong and skilled and loaded with supplies. She has arranged to go to a small village north of Kathmandu, closer to the epicentre. It's a place where people live and farm together. It's also a village she visited four years ago and fell hard for. She's been back a few times, always bringing supplies and teaching first aid.

She knows they're in trouble now.

"I feel like they are all part of my family," she told us.

Nothing, it seems, would keep Traversy away from helping them now. Just let this plane land, she and the others on board keep saying.

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