MSF quake activity overview
A rapid look at the immediate MSF action at the Bay of Bengal quake disaster scene.
29 December 2004
Indonesia A full charter of 32 tonnes of medical and water and sanitation equipment has been dispatched. An eight person team has gone to Banda Aceh on the northern Sumatra coast. The team includes three nurses and two doctors - all Indonesian - plus one logistician. This team brought another 3.5 tonnes of medical supplies. More staff are available for immediate departure and will be dispatched according to MSF reports from the region. Malaria and dengue fever are anticipated to be serious problems. The desalination of water supplies will have to be a priority because salt water is contaminating fresh water supplies. Plans to provide psychological support for survivors. Sri Lanka The functioning hospitals are inundated with injured people. Homeless and displaced people are a constant and the enormity of the devastation means large numbers of corpses remain in the open. The most affected areas are reported to be Matara, Kalutara, Galle and Hambantota in the south east. In the northeast are Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Jaffna. In total 12 expat staff have been deployed to the region in three separate teams. Another 17 staff are on standby to be deployed depending on the information gathered by the exploration missions. A six person MSF team has been dispatched (three from the UK, the rest from Japan) and includes a surgeon, doctor, nurse and two logisticians. The team is designated for the north east region of Sri Lanka where MSF had recently been active. Batticola, a coastal town, will be the first destination. Sri Lanka, a key target country for MSF operations, also has ten volunteers, based in Australia, on standby. Additional staff have already arrived in Colombo and a medical doctor is en route. There priority is to conduct an exploratory mission of the area today (Dec 29). An additional seven staff, based in Spain are on standyb. A third team is also en route. Thailand In Thailand, MSF staff are conducting exploration missions of the affected Phuket region. Non-food items are being assembled for distribution. Malaysia MSF Belgium has two doctors doing an explo in Penang and will be visiting coastal towns immediately. Myanmar (Burma) MSF is sending a team to carry out an exploratory mission in Myiek, in the far south of Myanmar. India MSF Belgium has a two person team carrying out an explo in parts of Southern India. They arrived December 27 in Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu. The government and local people are organizing health care, food distribution and the cleaning up operation. Fortunately there is no shortage of safe water in Chennai. 220 wounded arrived at the Government hospital in the last couple of days for minor injuries. The MSF explo team has travelled further south to Nagapattinam, the worst hit district. The coastal areas have been severely affected and families are still looking for missing people. There has been a strong response from the government and local communities. Bodies have already been collected and burnt. They are re-establishing the electricity supply in order to get the water pumps running again with clean water. The Ministry of Health has mobilised extra staff and have set up 'health camps' where access is free for everyone. On first examination, the hospitals seem to be well supplied with drugs and materials. The principal problem for the community at the moment seems to be psychological trauma. Other Field teams in all countries where we are present, as well as Somalia and Kenya, are investigating damage.