MSF activities one week after the Asian earthquake

© Bruno Stevens/Cosmos Click for full view

MSF sends medical teams to more locations every day and uses helicopters to reach villages that continue to be cut off since the earthquake struck on October 8.

MSF teams see up to 250 patients a day and focus on treating infected wounds and fractures. The organization has also increased surgical capacity and provides mental health support to traumatized people. Distribution of blankets and other relief items has started.

Currently, 77 international and 24 local staff are working in MSF's earthquake relief program in Pakistan. In addition, MSF teams in Indian Kashmir give mental health support, provide medical and logistical items to hospitals and distribute relief goods.

Up to now, MSF has brought a total of 250 tons of relief goods into Pakistan including medical items (emergency medical kits, drugs, surgical material, dressings, plaster, etc.), logistical material (especially water and sanitation material such as tanks, pumps and water treatment units) and shelter (about 60,000 blankets, 10,000 sleeping mats and 1,200 winterized tents). Additional relief items such as hygiene and cooking kits are being purchased locally.

ACTIVITIES IN PAKISTAN

Muzaffarabad MSF runs a basic health care unit in the university area of town, where many village people have gathered. Main conditions continue to be infected wounds, fractures and contusions, as well as body pain. Next to its basic health care centre, an MSF psychologist and a social worker have started to offer mental health counseling for traumatized earthquake survivors.

Mobile teams have accessed several villages in a perimeter of about 15 kms around Muzaffarabad. However access to victims is often blocked by landslides that make roads impassable.

One team had to leave the car behind and only arrived in the village of Garid Pata after a 10 km walk in order to treat several wounded there.

Blankets and other relief items have been distributed in Muzaffarabad and further south in Charakpura.

Lamnian The MSF team in Lamnian, south-east of Muzaffarabad, runs a basic health care unit and has treated 170 patients on Oct 14 alone, some of them with badly infected wounds. Many severely injured were medically stabilized and evacuated by helicopter. Lamnian has been completely destroyed by the earthquake and is only accessible by air. Its population, plus the people in settlements nearby, is estimated at about 25,000. Distribution of blankets has started.

Hattian area MSF is providing medical care to wounded in a location near Hattian. The majority of patients have open fractures and chest injuries. Some patients had old dressings that required urgent follow up. Now that the MSF team is there, many people come from surrounding higher areas to receive treatment. Additional staff as well as medical supplies, blankets and tents will be flown to the area.

Bagh In Bagh, an MSF team supports a make-shift emergency hospital that has been set up by Ministry of Health staff in a school building. The town is badly affected with about 90 per cent of buildings destroyed or severely damaged. The hospital capacity needs to be increased urgently as it is estimated that the catchment area includes Bagh?s population of about 60.000 plus the people living in the densely populated Bagh valley. Water and sanitation in the hospital are deplorable. Additional staff and equipment (tents, medical material including one emergency kit for 10.000 displaced for three months) are on their way.

Mansehra The hospital in Mansehra, North West Frontier Province, gets the support of an MSF team. Two logisticians are setting up water and sanitation facilities whereas a nurse is taking care of improved drug supply. A surgical team is to arrive soon.

Balakot In Balakot, north of Mansehra, MSF treats wounded in an outpatient facility. The team has found the village entirely destroyed. The district hospital with 600 beds is partly collapsed.