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Pakistan: Muzaffarabad Physical Rehabilitation Centre helps earthquake and mine victims

08-10-2007 News Release 07/16

"Please cut my legs off … for God’s sake get me out … please cut my legs off and get me out." Aziz was trapped in the debris of his shop, demolished by the devastating earthquake that ravaged a region spanning parts of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan on 8 October 2005.

The only way to save the young man was to amputate both legs. Without anaesthetic. The pain was bad enough, but a future without legs looked downright bleak. After several consultations, castings, and measurements Aziz has finally been fitted with two artificial legs at the Muzaffarabad Physical Rehabilitation Centre (MPRC). Now he is able to stand and is trying to walk without help. " It’s a new life for me! " Aziz exclaims. " I will soon be able to play badminton with my friends. Life has opened up for me and I get out of bed with a smile every day " .

Today, two years after the earthquake, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officially opened the Muzaffarabad Physical Rehabilitation Centre. The MPRC is a milestone in the ICRC programme for casualties of war, earthquake victims and destitute disabled people. That programme forms part of a larger health programme that the ICRC has been running in Pakistan since the 1980s.

The MPRC provides patients from earthquake-affected regions, and from all over Pakistan-administered Kashmir, with a wide range of prosthetic and orthotic services and equipment The centre also takes care of travel, accommodation and meals. So far, the MPRC has treated 365 patients from Pakistan-administered-Kashmir.

The MPRC is currently being run by three expatriates and 35 local staff, and the ICRC is looking for a long-term cooperation partner.

Previously, disabled people from Pakistan-administered Kashmir had to go to the Fauji Foundation Artificial Limb Centre in Rawalpindi, while those from North-West Frontier Province travelled to the PIPOS Institute in Peshawar. Thanks to the new centre, these patients now enjoy the same standard of treatment in Muzaffarabad.

  For further information, please contact:
  Carla Haddad, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 2405 or +41 79 217 3226
  Marco Succi, ICRC Islamabad, +92 588 10 34 242 or +92 300 856 94 25