MSF sends more supplies into Afghanistan region

Press release, Brussels, October 2 2001 - This week, three charter planes are bringing a total of 115 tons of supplies to the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) missions in and around Afghanistan. MSF will use these supplies to maintain and reinforce its current programs and to be fully prepared in the event of a new emergency. A plane carrying 37.5 tons of supplies arrives today in Osh, Kyrgysztan. On board are 10 tons of medical materials for the existing projects in Faizabad and Ishkashim, in the area of Afghanistan held by the Northern Alliance. In addition, the plane transports 8.5 tons of high-protein food, medical kits, materials for water supplies and five mobile clinic tents. A second charter is scheduled to land today (October 2) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. It has a 40 tons capacity and carries medicines, medical kits, water and sanitation materials, tents and cars. Later this week, there will be another cargo flight to Ashgabat. On board will be 38 tons of emergency materials, mostly surgical and medical kits and water and sanitation items. Together, these and locally bought supplies make it possible for MSF teams to provide increased assistance to the Afghan people, either in their own country or, should they flee to neighbouring states, in refugee settlements. The supplies can also serve to reinforce the projects in Afghanistan from which MSF's international staff was evacuated after the attacks in the United States. MSF has teams in Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In Taleban-held Afghanistan, MSF teams left behind stock to keep the projects going. Additional supplies were transported to the Mazar-e-Sharif region over the past two weeks. MSF is also assisting the current refugee populations in camps near Peshawar in Pakistan, and Mashad in Iran. But with the winter approaching, MSF is concerned that the possibilities for bringing relief to the people in Afghanistan are ebbing away. Already before the international staff had to leave their projects in Taleban-held areas, the situation was dire; warfare, food shortage, diseases and a lack of basic health care were taking their deadly toll daily.