It is not surprising that Narayan Kumar Shrestha is today lovingly known as the ‘Ambulance Uncle’. This name is testimony to the recognition he has received for his humanitarian action during emergency situations in central Nepal. An executive member of the Red Cross Chapter of Dhading, Shrestha rescued over 100 people affected by the quakes on 25 April and 12 May at Nilkantha Municipality in Dhading district.
“Ask anyone in the town and they know my number,” he says with a sense of pride. “Volunteerism is the foundation of Red Cross Movement and my work serves as one brick for building the castle. It is the spirit of volunteerism that people associate the Red Cross with, and that is what gives them a faith that the Red Cross acts during emergency situations,” he adds.
Of the 200 people seriously injured and flown in to Dhading, 100 were carried on the back by ‘Ambulance Uncle’. Taking inspiration from his work and dedication, hundreds of youth have joined the Red Cross as volunteers.
“These days I am visiting the worst-affected people and providing them psycho-social first aid,” he informs. When the people are deeply traumatised by the quake, psycho-social first aid greatly helps the survivors to heal by helping them to overcome their fear and anxiety.
“I am not a doctor but I feel rewarded when people say that the psycho-social first-aid has helped them normalise their lives and again build their confidence,” he says.