When thousands were rendered homeless and hundreds perished in the devastating floods and landslides triggered by the cloudburst in Uttarakhand last June, there was no lady doctor to attend to women victims. Under the trying circumstances, Dr. P. Hima Bindu from the Border Security Force stepped in.

“BSF teams were engaged in rescue and rehabilitation operations since the last week of June. However, there was no lady doctor to attend to women victims of the disaster. I was then told that my services were required in the flood-hit regions of Uttarakhand,” said Dr. Bindu, chief medical officer.

In August, Dr. Bindu reported for duty at Kotma village which was then at the centre of about a dozen villages adopted by the BSF for rehabilitation. The medical officer worked round-the-clock, attending to over 1,000 patients in about 45 days. She was recently conferred the BSF’s highest award — Director General’s Commendation Role.

“I come from the Andhra Pradesh plains and was not accustomed to hilly terrains. On several occasions, we had to scale difficult routes on foot. At one place, a portion of the road was completely washed out leaving behind a chasm. We somehow crossed over to the other side and reached the villages where our services were required,” said Dr. Bindu.

While working in Uttarakhand, she encountered families in Kedarnath which had lost their dear ones in the worst natural calamity. Herself a psychiatrist, Dr. Bindu provided counselling to the families, apart from attending to their physical illnesses. “The locals’ major concern was restoration of the channels of communication, which were also washed out, to Guptkashi, the nearest town. Dr. Bindu was the first lady doctor to reach those villages to serve the women. Even non-government organisations could go only up to Guptkashi as all the approach roads were washed out,” said a senior BSF officer, appreciating Dr. Bindu’s contribution to the rescue and relief work.

“I felt special that I got a chance to serve the needy by overcoming adverse conditions, at a time when there was no electricity, nor adequate water supply in those villages,” Dr. Bindu said.