skip to Main Content
Call Now for a Free Consultation*     250-888-0002
Canadian Medical Assistance Teams Help Nepal Quake Relief

Canadian Medical Assistance Teams Help Nepal Quake Relief

The morning of May 12, 2015, we awoke to news that a second quake, measuring a magnitude of 7.4, had struck Nepal, a country that has been devastated by the Gorkha earthquake that occurred April 25, 2015, killing more than 8,000 people and injuring more than 18,000. The news has hit close to home as one our firm’s legal assistants, Heather, is married to a paramedic, Josh Henshaw, who is in the region after volunteering to help with the Canadian Medical Assistance Teams (CMAT) Nepal Quake Relief efforts.

Josh is a Victoria, BC paramedic who received an urgent email from a doctor last week asking if he would be willing to fly out the next day to Nepal to assist with the recovery efforts in Nepal. Josh has prior search and rescue experience, an adventurous spirit and knew that his skills would be desperately needed and that he could make a meaningful difference to the recovery efforts. Josh did not hesitate to accept the offer to help, and joined 14 other Canadian volunteers including doctors, nurses and other paramedics on a flight to Kathmandu the day after receiving the email.

The CMAT team Josh was on arrived in Kathmandu after dark, but even so – the destruction of the quake was apparent. The following day, Josh and the CMAT team traveled roughly 8 hours by bus to the region of Gorkha, very near to the epicentre of the quake and established a CMAT camp and field clinic in the village of Baluwa.

The field clinic Josh worked at was providing services to Baluwa as well as dozens of neighbouring villages. In the first days of operation, the CMAT field clinic treated 170 patients a day, a large majority of whom were suffering from acute quake related injuries. As some people who need medical care are located in outlying villages and are unable to travel to the field clinic in Baluwa, the CMAT team Josh was on had been sending small groups of medical personnel hiking (sometimes up to 7 hours) to get to outlying villages to treat patients.

The numbers of patients treated at the field clinic had been gradually subsiding (as of May 13, 2015, the clinic was treating between 60 and 100 patients a day), however an increasing number of patients presented to the clinic had a need for basic medical care. As a result of the quake, much of the primary healthcare infrastructure, including the birthing centre in the region was destroyed. Further, a lack of sanitation, housing and adequate nutrition (also due to the quake) and a looming monsoon season were increasing the need for primary healthcare services in the region. As a result, it was anticipated that the CMAT team Josh was on and the primary medical services they provide would continue to be in high demand in the region.

Nerves continued to be frayed, with even the sound of thunder causing a great deal of fear and aftershocks continuing on a daily basis. Most of the locals in the village of Baluwa and the surrounding villages were sleeping under tarps – many homes were no longer structurally sound and another big quake would cause them to crumble.

The road back to the way things once were is likely to be long, however, the indomitable spirit of those living in Nepal leaves little doubt that they will eventually recover from the quake. In a recent impromptu game of soccer between the Canadian medics and the Bulawi village children, the children claimed an easy victory. The still smiling faces of many of the villagers demonstrates an admirable resiliency and hope that the recovery efforts will minimize any further quake related tragedy.

In support of Josh’s efforts in Nepal, LaW has made a donation to the Canadian Medical Assistance Teams and is encouraging others to do the same. The Canadian Medical Assistance Teams is a Canadian-run grassroots disaster relief organization, that is operated entirely by volunteers and exclusively sponsored by donations. For more information or to donate, please visit:

Back To Top