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Surgeon joins rescue mission in Haiti

PUBLISHED: 11:54 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:42 07 September 2010

Richard Villar

Richard Villar

A St JOHN s Wood surgeon is leading a medical team in Haiti to help survivors of last week's devastating earthquake. Wellington Hospital-based orthopaedic surgeon Richard Villar arrived on the stricken Caribbean island on Saturday. His team –

Tan Parsons

A St JOHN's Wood surgeon is leading a medical team in Haiti to help survivors of last week's devastating earthquake.

Wellington Hospital-based orthopaedic surgeon Richard Villar arrived on the stricken Caribbean island on Saturday.

His team - organised by London-based aid charity Merlin - has been working around the clock using their expertise in skin and muscle reconstruction to help save limbs that would otherwise have to be amputated.

He said: "The sheer scale of devastation out here is truly shocking.

"The hospitals are either broken or full. Surgical and medical teams are working round the clock in corridors, on landings, on the hospital steps, even in the car parks.

"I set to work as soon as I got here - providing emergency surgical and trauma care, including referral to hospital surgical facilities where necessary."

Mr Villar has has been treating patients in central areas of the capital Port-au-Prince and this week he is operating as a surgeon in the island's UN compound.

The earthquake struck on Tuesday January 12. It measured 7.0 on the Richter scale and was the most powerful in the area for more than 200 years.

It struck the busy capital, which has a population of nearly two million people, destroying buildings and leaving vast numbers trapped, injured and killed.

Communication lines are down across the country and many are now homeless, sleeping on the streets. It is estimated the death toll could soar to as much as 200,000.

A Wellington Hospital spokesman said: "This is one of the worst global catastrophes for a number of years and we are delighted that members of our medical teams can play a small part in trying to help the poor people of Haiti and we will do our best to support them."

Meanwhile, other north London groups have joined the fundraising efforts to help pay for things like emergency food and water, temporary shelter, medical healthcare and emotional support for survivors.

Among them is Proud Galleries in Chalk Farm Road, which yesterday hosted the Love Music: Help Haiti concert.

Bands including Micachu and the Shapes were recruited urgently to put on the show to raise awareness and much-needed funds for survivors.

Concert co-ordinator Phil Honour said: "It's crucial for us as artists and professionals to respond to the disaster.

"The support from everyone has been immense and we would like to thank the artists involved for giving up their time for such a worthy cause."

The Jewish Community Centre in Hampstead also urged supporters to do what they could to help with relief efforts by joining World Jewish Relief's Haiti Earthquake Emergency Appeal.

JCC chief executive Nick Viner said: "We're delighted to participate in World Jewish Relief's initiative. We think it is very important that everyone should help in anyway they can."

In support of the efforts, the JCC will have World Jewish Relief donation boxes at all of their events.

To make a donation towards the relief effort visit www.wjr.org.uk.


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