International team from MSF arrives in Herat

Herat, Afghanistan, November 15, 2001 - An international team from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have just arrived by car in Herat, in western Afghanistan. The three expatriates (a surgeon, nurse and a logistician) crossed the Turkmen border near Turgundy around 3 pm local time. They were welcomed by their Afghan colleagues at the border crossing and they travelled the last 2.5 hours of their trip to Herat together. The reunion with the local staff was quite emotional, said nurse Siobhan Isles at the phone from Herat. "Our ten Afghan colleagues are all here," she said. "They are the ones who have managed to keep up the support to the local hospital, several clinics and two nearby camps for internally displaced people, since the evacuation of all foreigners from Afghanistan on September 14th." One local staff member and 82 other civilians were injured during the recent fighting for control of the town. The team report that situation is now calm in the town apart from celebratory gunfire from the Alliance forces. An 8 pm curfew has been enforced. The international MSF team will tomorrow try to get a clear picture of the medical and humanitarian situation in and around Herat. The aid programmes will continue, and may be extended if needs require.