Afghanistan earthquake: MSF treats hundreds of wounded
27 March 2002
Brussels/Mazar-I-Shariff - Today, MSF received 350 people in its three medical tents in Nahrin, Afghanistan. MSF set up these emergency facilities yesterday to assist the victims of the series of earthquakes that started on Monday. MSF teams are assessing the Nahrin area by car and picking up patients in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health that assigned four extra medical doctors for this mission. After a preliminary medical screening, those without injuries are referred to the Nahrin clinics of SCA (Swedish Comity for Afghanistan) and Red Crescent. The wounded cared for in the MSF tents mainly suffer from fractures and burns. The 580 patients who came to the MSF health centre yesterday and today are from Nahrin town and the nearby villages. MSF has started medical assessments in the neighbouring region with mobile teams. In addition to immediate medical care the main needs are shelter, water and food. A referral system to the hospitals of Phul-I-Khumri is in place. Yesterday an Afghan Ministry of Defence helicopter transported 16 wounded, mainly to the military hospital. This morning another 25 patients have been referred. MSF has sent a medical doctor over to Phul-I-Khumri hospital for assistance and supervising and delivered 200 emergency kits for wounded. At this moment, a lot of the MSF resources originally destined to deal with the nutritional crisis of the population of Northern Afghanistan are used to assist the victims of the earthquake. This poses an extra burden on the already extensive aid programs of MSF in this part of the country. Due to the ongoing drought and more than two decades of war, malnutrition remains a major problem. Next to its assistance to 18 clinics (45,000 consultations per month) and support to several camps for displaced people, MSF has more than 4,000 children in its nutritional centres.