MSF expands efforts to 100 villages
20 February 2001
MSF is expanding the scope of the scope of its activities where the organisation is active in the Buhj region. Following a series of assessments of other areas, MSF teams are expanding their activites to another 41 villages, bringing the total villages under MSF direct concern to 100. Assessment of dispensaries will take the medical teams to the north, remote areas of Kutch that border the salt plains. These new villages are in the western and southern regions surrounding Bhuj, in the central area of Kutch. Bhuj is the primary city in the Kutch region. Distances by vehicle from Bhuj to the villages vary from 20 minutes to a few hours. MSF will be ensuring the same relief items are provided to villagers in all these newly added villages: one tent and plastic sheet per family and one blanket per person. MSF will now be assisting more than 100, 000 people (20,000 families) in almost 100 villages in central Kutch. Two daily flights of 20 tonnes per flight made up of 500 tents per flight are landing at the military airport in Bhuj. A minimum of ten trucks are dispatched daily to deliver essential supplies. As of Feb 18, a total of 5,542 tents have been distributed. A total of 18 expat staff and 49 national staff are currently working the disaster area for MSF in the Bhuj region of India. Medical MSF is continuing to monitor medical activities, providing backup to the medical clinic in Bhuj. Health monitoring also continues at one of the general kitchens. Assessment of local dispensaries (pharmacies) began on February 18, including supplies, building, organisation. Water and sanitation MSF continues to monitor the water and sanitation situation as well. Overall the situation is considered good with people having enough water to keep alive. However, in some areas, additional water for cooking and washing clothes etc. is lacking. MSF has assessed water quality, availability and distribution in 36 villages in the rural area of Bhuj Thaluca south of Bhuj. MSF has installed 17 water bladders (15,000 litres each) in rural areas around Bhuj, and will continue to assist in rural areas and in Bhuj itself. Assessments will continue in the area during the coming days focusing in the areas north, east and, to a lesser extent, south of Bhuj. Four bladders have been installed so far in Bhuj. Three more bladders are planned for instalation. Due to the damage to the buildings, installation requires a "trolly" (a tractor-like vehicle) are required to install the additional three bladders. Unfortunately, the availability of trollies is scarce so the MSF watsan team has to wait before three bladders can be installed in Bhuj town.