Scripps Nurses with villagers in a remote area of Nepal. Photo courtesy Scripps
Scripps Nurses with villagers in a remote area of Nepal. Photo courtesy Scripps

Nurses who traveled from San Diego to earthquake-stricken Nepal are keeping busy, having treated nearly 700 patients since arriving in the area a week ago.

The four nurses and one team leader have divided into two groups, and are reporting daily to Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder, despite some spotty communications.

According to Scripps Health, a team made up of Tim Collins, Jan Zachry and Debra McQuillen treated 400 patients in the remote mountain village of Singla, which they said was ruined by the magnitude-7.8 earthquake April 25. The destruction was so bad that residents were moving the entire village to a new location, they said.

The nurses treated many of the Singla villagers for chronic diseases and educated them about water, sanitation and hygiene, according to Scripps Health. The group has since returned to their base in Gorkha, west of the capital of Kathmandu, pending a new assignment this weekend.

The other group — Patty Skoglund and Steve Miller — treated 260 patients in the village of Ree Gaun. Many villagers in the area, close to the quake’s epicenter, suffered traumatic injuries, according to Skoglund.

She said they were the first to provide medical care to the villagers, most of whom had to walk three to four miles almost straight up or down a steep mountainside to get to the medical clinic.

The second team has since relocated to the village of Lopak.

The nurses are working alongside medical professionals from other organizations that are providing assistance in the region. They’re planning to remain in Nepal for three weeks.

The U.S. military is also helping, with an operation named “Operation Sahayogi Haat,” which means “Helping Hand” in Nepali, coordinated by the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii.

The task force consists of approximately 300 service members operating three Marine UH-1Y Huey helicopters, four Marine MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, four Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft and two Marine KC-130J Hercules aircraft.

City News Service contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.