MSF teams being readied for Asia earthquake disaster response
26 December 2004
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South-east Asia has been struck by an eartquake, a series of aftershocks as well as tsunamis (huge ocean waves) following an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter Scale. The epicentre was on the ocean floor. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Malaysia and Thailand have all been struck.
The earthquake is considered to be the largest in the world in the past 40 years.
MSF is offering its services to the Indonesian Government to assist the affected population. MSF will have a full charter ready within the next 24 hours for departure to north Sumatra, the closest land region to the epicentre. The charter will have with water and sanitation and basic medical supplies to care for a displaced population of between 30,000 and 40,000 people.
At present, two staff members are ready for immediate departure. Another four medical and logistical staff wwill be ready by tomorrow. Assessment teams will also be on the ground in India, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Burma.
As expected with earthquakes where much of the infrastucture in destroyed or damaged, communications are poor and information is lacking. However immediate reports of the death toll indicate:
Sri Lanka: 2,000 dead
India: 1,000 dead
Thailand: 156 dead
Indonesia: 400 dead
Malaysia: 17 dead
(Source: Goverment officials)