Bringing clean water and urgent medical care to displaced people in Aceh


Sumatra, Indonesia - MSF team giving watsan assistance to Fakina hospital in Banda Aceh. Photo © Lui Thenu/MSF Sumatra, Indonesia - Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has chartered a landing craft to carry water bladders, piping, reservoirs, and distribution ramps to Lamno, on the west coast of Aceh. The materials, which arrived last Friday, will enable the setting up of extra water distribution points for some 4,000 to 8,000 displaced people living in camps around the town as well as for the town's residents. Plastic sheeting and latrines have already been put in place to provide extra sanitation facilities. One MSF water-and-sanitation expert, along with a logistician and a mobile clinic team are working in the area. More supplies are also underway to Meulaboh aboard the Rainbow Warrior. Greenpeace has given MSF the use of their ship for the coming weeks, to speed up the delivery of supplies along the coast and increase access to isolated communities. In Banda Aceh, the vessel was loaded with supplies for the western coast, including generators, diesel pumps, fuel, tents, plastic sheeting, large water containers, jerry cans, pre-packed medical kits, and high-protein biscuits. The helicopter made two trips to Meulaboh, where the MSF assessment team had started work on the previous day. On the first trip, the helicopter flew in seven nurses who will be working in the hospital and among the displaced. The second trip carried three more staff and more supplies. In Lam Asar Siem, in the Darussalam district of eastern Banda Aceh, one of MSF's mobile medical teams performed 98 consultations. Around 200 local people and 100 displaced persons from other areas are crammed together in this area. The most common pathologies treated are wounds, respiratory tract infections, and skin diseases, while many people are also suffering from serious mental trauma. In Sigli on the east coast, a team of Indonesian health workers has taken over the surgical work in the General District Hospital. The MSF team in Sigli, reinforced by three more staff, is now concentrating its efforts on the displaced people living in three locations, covering around 11,000 people. In total, across its five main bases, MSF is assisting more than 100,000 people in Aceh.