First humanitarian relief plane reaches Baucau

East Timor - Today, the first cargo plane with humanitarian relief, chartered by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) landed in Baucau with seven tonnes of medicines and medical, logistical, water and sanitation equipment.

Also on the plane were five additional MSF staff sent to reinforce the three-member MSF team already on the ground in Baucau since 29 September.

The seven tonnes on board the Antonov 12 included:

  • medicines, medical equipment and two tents for Out Patient Dispensaries
  • water bladders, motor pumps and generators
  • two 4x4 cars and radio communications equipment
  • survival kits for the MSF team.

    The current eight-member MSF team (one surgeon, one doctor, four nurses and two logistic officers) are setting up dispensaries in Baucau. Reports are that 9,000 people have returned to the town. Baucau did not suffer major destruction, but sanitation is very much a concern as there are dead animals in the streets and the sewage system has been destroyed.

    Tomorrow, the MSF team plans to visit surrounding villages that have been destroyed and where thousands of displaced persons are gathering.

    MSF was already working in Baucau Hospital providing medical and surgical care until September 7, 1999, when expatriate staff were expelled.

    MSF resumed activities in Dili on September 24. A team of seven medical and logistic staff are delivering medical care in the Stadium where displaced persons have been gathering. The main consultations have been for suspected malaria, respiratory infections and skin diseases.

    An additional 50 tonnes of equipment and MSF staff are on stand-by in Darwin and will be sent by plane to Dili on Saturday and to Baucau on Sunday.