MSF team at Asian earthquake zone


Listen to MSF eyewitness account on BBC radio
Oct. 8: MSF Project Coordinator, Jan Peter Stellema, talks about the destruction caused by the Asian Earthquake.
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Last updated: 12.08, October 9: MSF is preparing cargo, including winterised tents for temporary accomodations, for the survivors of the Asian earthquake that struck Saturnday morning.

Although MSF had a team at the location when the earthquake struck who were able to provide some information on the level of destruction, there capacity is limited. More staff have arrived and more are en route to the locale.

An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter Scale struck in the north of Pakistan Saturday morning, just 80 kms north of the Pakistan capital, Islamabad. The affected area runs from the north of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Kashmir.

The damage throughout the affected region is considerable and the number of victims is expected to be high.

MSF was already present in the area with three expats in the village of Lamnian in Pakistani Kashmir, some 15 kilometers from the line of control with Indian Kashmir and close to the epicentre of the earthquake. The three are a project coordinator, logistician and nurse and were about to start a project there and were hiring national staff.

The village has been completely destroyed, including the clinic where we are about to start working and the MSF house. The project would focus on safe motherhood. All team members are fine.

Two MSF teams are further assessing the situation in Uri, Baramullah and Kupwara. In addition, post-disaster counselling activities have already started in Kupwara and Srinagar. Activities will start in Uri on Monday.

The Pakistani army is responding with big logistical/medical capacity

MSF is now focusing to getting reponse capacity to the region. Stocks from Quetta, Dubai and Mumbai will be moved up to the north and MSF is looking into how to get additional resources in the country; cargo as well as people (blankets; jerrycans; sleeping mats and tents)

The MSF team on the ground is also affected by the landslide with limited communications possibilities. Additional staff were planned to be helicoptered to the region this morning.

Cargo already being prepared for delivery is focusing on shelter and water as well as surgical supplies. Along with surgical kits are 1,000 winterised tents to provide immediate, temporary accomodations; 20,000 jerry cans; 50,000 blankets; chlorination kits; diesels engines; and water distribution modules.