Hood River doctor goes to Afghanistan

Hood River physician Mike Pendleton leads a three-member team of volunteers from Northwest Medical Teams into war-torn Afghanistan this week.

Pendleton, a family practitioner with Columbia Gorge Family Medicine and an associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University, along with a physician from Seattle and a nurse from Fairbanks, Alaska, make up the first emergency medical team from Northwest Medical Teams to go to the ravaged country.

Pendleton and his team flew to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, last weekend and planned to head across the border this week bound for Rustaq, in the northern Afghan province of Takhar. Pendleton and his team are transporting $21,000 worth of medical supplies, including antibiotics, pain relievers and bandages.

According to a Northwest Medical Teams spokesperson, Pendleton and his team will work with suffering people in villages and refugee camps in Takhar, and lay the groundwork for treating thousands more sick people in nearby Konduz and Baghlan provinces. He is scheduled to return on Dec. 24 -- although the staff at Columbia Gorge Family Medicine have given him a few days leeway in case primitive travel conditions or other complications delay his return.

"He's not scheduled until New Year's Eve," said office manager Diana Lee-Greene. "Hopefully he'll be back by then."

Pendleton has been associated with Portland-based Northwest Medical Teams for several years. In 1997, he spent two weeks on a medical mission in Vietnam.

Northwest Medical Teams expects to send at least 50 more volunteers to Afghanistan on month-long assignments through next year.

"We know we can save thousands of lives if we can provide medical care and medicines to those caught in these desperate circumstances," said Bas Vanderzalm, president of Northwest Medical Teams. The organization is partnering for the relief effort with World Concern, Food for the Hungry and the Central Asian Development Agency.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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