Brad Pitt makes donation to Islamabad hospital aiding Pakistan quake victims
26 November 2005
ISLAMABAD - Actor Brad Pitt today donated 40 orthopaedic beds to an Islamabad hospital that has been struggling to cope with thousands of serious medical cases since the devastating Oct. 8 earthquake in northern Pakistan.
Pitt, visiting Pakistan with UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, met the Executive Director of Islamabad's Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Dr. Syed Fazle Hadi, on Saturday evening to finalise details of the donation.
"In the first days of the earthquake, ambulances were arriving with casualties by the second. Helicopters were landing every hour, some on the hospital's lawn," said Dr. Hadi. "The relief response has been phenomenal, but we've also been humbled by people coming from all over the world to help in this human tragedy."
PIMS now counts 654 amputees among its patients from the earthquake, which killed more than 73,000 people and left an equal number seriously injured.
"We told UNHCR a few days ago that we urgently needed 40 special orthopaedic beds for earthquake survivors with spinal injuries," said Dr. Hadi. "They must be moved often to prevent bed and pressure sores that could prolong their stay by six months to a year. These special beds use electronics and hydraulics to move and turn them in every way."
He told Pitt, "We didn't expect to get a response so soon, and we're extremely grateful for your prompt and generous offer."
Pitt decided to fund the beds, worth over US$100,000, after seeing the devastation and desperate needs in the Allai valley, Balakot and Muzaffarabad.
"These people have suffered so much, but they have such tremendous spirit," said Pitt. "I'm really moved by the relief effort, the communal spirit of it all. And I'm very happy to be able to help in some way."
On the last day of their three-day visit to the quake zone, Pitt and Jolie helped to airlift and distribute food rations to villagers in Jabel Sharoon, a village 6,000 feet above sea level. They also offered their moral support to a US Mobile Army Surgery Hospital (MASH) in Muzaffarabad.