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Czech medical team to help earthquake victims in Nepal

in World News by

Plane may take stranded Czechs back home; Some 24 Czechs are missing

Prague, April 27 (ČTK) — The Czech government approved today sending a medical trauma team to help Nepal earthquake victims, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, ČSSD) has written on Twitter.

Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (ČSSD) said the team of over 30 physicians and firefighters would depart for Nepal.

They are leaving for a two-week mission, which, however, will probably be extended by another two weeks.

The plane that is to transport them may take some Czechs, who are staying in Nepal, back home, Zaorálek told reporters.

On Saturday, the powerful disaster claimed about 3,600 dead and many other people were injured, according to the latest information.

In aftershocks, 61 people died in neighboring India and another 20 in the Chinese region of Tibet.

The Czech government has earmarked 20 million Kč for the trauma team’s mission.

Zaorálek said medical staff is the most urgently needed in Nepal now.

“That is why the government has decided to send in a trauma team,” Zaorálek told journalists.

He said the government has agreed on the flight with the Travel Service air carrier that will provide a Boeing 737.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (ČSSD) said the date of the Czech team’s departure depends on the time the plane could land at the Kathmandu airport, which has been extremely busy now.

Physician Petr Nestrojil, who will head the Czech team in Nepal, told ČTK that the team is comprised of nine doctors and 10 nurses from the Brno Teaching Hospital. Some of them have experience with medical assistance in natural disasters abroad.

They will be complemented by 13 officers from the Prague firefighter squad, according to Zaorálek.

Nestrojil said the doctors and nurses are preparing medical material and undergoing necessary vaccination before leaving Brno for Prague tonight. The plane with the complete team might take off from a Prague airport early on Tuesday, he said.

The Czech team will build seven large tents and start treating patients in an hour upon their landing in Nepal.

Five tents will serve for treating patients with slight and moderate injuries, the remaining two will serve for storing material.

“Our goal is to make patients capable of transfer to a hospital,” Nestrojil said.

He said hospitals in the region are overcrowded, which is why the Czech tents will offer 14 beds for patients to stay for up to two days.

“After the team lands in Kathmandu, we will try to address the Czech citizens who find themselves in the afflicted area, and offer them return home aboard the [Boeing] plane,” Zaorálek said.

Chovanec said the Foreign Ministry is also prepared to send humanitarian aid to Nepal. It may be sent there aboard the plane that will fly to Nepal to bring the trauma team back to Prague.

Czech diplomats in Nepal and neighboring countries have not yet succeeded in establishing contact with 26 Czechs in the area.

According to the latest information, 226 Czech citizens are staying in Nepal. Twenty-four are missing and no information is available on two Czechs in India.

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