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Pakistan: happy to walk again

04-04-2006 Feature

In cooperation with the Fauji Foundations' Artificial Limb Centre in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, the ICRC is providing rehabilitation support services to those who lost limbs during the earthquake. ICRC employee, Raza Hamdani, reports.

   

  ©ICRC / pk-e-00588    
 
   
     

Dressed in a colourful jersey and jeans, ten year old Samia Mukhtar walks with ease during her visit to the Artificial Limb Centre at the Fauji Foundation in Rawalpindi. Samia lost her lower right leg in the disaster but has now been fitted with an artificial limb.

Samia was at school in a neighbourhood in Muzaffarabad when the earthquake struck. She immediately ran out of the building but, when later she went in to fetch her bag, the school building collapsed following a powerful aftershock. Her five-year-old sister died.

" For five hours, I screamed for help in the school debris. I was finally rescued in the afternoon, " she says. " My fear of the earthquake still remains. "

She was taken home and, for three days and nights, she suffered excruciating pain.

" We even gave her sleeping pills to make her sleep but it did not work, " says Mukhtar Ahmed, her father.

   
  ©ICRC / pk-e-00589    
 
   
     

She was then taken to Muzaffarabad airport on foot and was flown to Rawalpindi where surgeons amputated her leg.

" I was scared and crying because I did not want to lose my leg. I wanted to play like the other children, " Samia says. " I told the doctor not to amputate my leg but he said that it was necessary otherwise it would get worse. "

The ICRC orthopaedic specialist looking after Samia says she has learnt how to walk again quite quickly.

" She will be able to run in three weeks time. I have seen people with prostheses running and even playing football. "

Samia giggles, " I am happy that I can walk again and, with a little practice, I will be able to run. I love to play badminton and hopscotch. I will play with my friends again "