MSF medical activity in East Timor
21 October 1999
East Timor - MSF returned to Dili (pop: 60,000), after being evicted froim the country, on September 23 and restarted operations the following day. The team based in Dili operates an clinic at the Dili Stadium. Some returnees do stay at the Stadium, but most are in transit and leave for their own homes, either in Dili or in nearby communities. MSF conducts medical screenings of returnees and have, until October 16, udertaken medical care of 400 returnees arriving by boat from the outlying island of Atauro as well as 1,000 returness who have been returned to Dili via organised flights by the UNHCR. In Liquica (pop: 30,000), the original health clinic was destroyed. MSF has brought medical care to the city through a mobile clinic system. A CAtholic Polyclinic has also been adapted for use in daily screenings. In Baucau (pop/ unstable and estimated between 17,000 and 27,000), and MSF team arrived on October 4 and started consultations immediately. The Philippion Medical Coprs had already started working out of the nearby civilian hospital and so MSF established their base at a former military hospital. On October 8, the civilian hospital was transferred to MSF and our key base is now the civilian hospital. When additional staff arrive, MSF will be establishing a clinic in the nearby Baruma suburb. From our Baucau base location, MSF undertakes care for local communities with two mobile clinics. All the area has been visited and health needs assessed. MSF now has a rotating visitation system for the regio where regular, frequent care is available on set days so the local communitiy can be confident of professional care. The communities being serviced by the MSF mobile clinics include Queliquai, Vemasse, Bagquia and Laclubar - Queliquai: The clinic is still satisfactory. There was one nurse present but with neither drugs nor materials. The city is almost intact, but the area around is 80% destroyed.
Bagquia (pop: 4,000-9,500): The clinic is intact with ten nurses (normally 17) and a good supply of drugs and injectables but no dressing materials. The road there is in bad condition and may prove problematic in the rainy season. However the town is intact.
Laclubar (pop: 9000-11,000): The clinic was clinic badly damaged by fire. Hygiene conditions are poor but there is no indication of severe malnutrition. Road conditions poor and travel during the rains may be difficult. Villages along the road from Manatuto to Laclubar were destroyed and few people were visible.
Returnees on UNHCR flights from Jakarta, Denpasar and Surabaya have been screened by MSF in Baucau. Most returnees have been in good health.
MSF has sent two staff members to conduct a food assessment in East Timor. MSF has a medical team preparing to work in Viqueque and probably soon in Ossu.
Viqueque still had a hospital outside of town functioning with one doctor and two nurses. There was some medication still available, but they were lacking dressing for wounds.
Ossu clinic was destroyed, but some Salesian Sisters were doing consultations out of a house. There were no drugs or materials. Half the town was destroyed.