Pakistan: MSF treats 55 wounded after blast in Hangu

Hangu, 2 February 2013 – A bomb exploded outside two mosques in the Pat Bazaar area of Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Friday afternoon, killing several people and wounding dozens more. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Ministry of Health staff treated 55 injured at Tehsil Headquarter hospital in Hangu.

Emergency surgery and stabilisation

“The explosion was close to the hospital, patients began arriving within minutes,”said MSF project coordinator Cédric Linossier. “Our medical team rapidly began to identify and give priority to patients’ medical needs according to the severity of their injuries. We were racing against time to treat and stabilise patients.” 

Medical teams carried out surgery on five patients and stabilised fifty others. The blast-related injuries included open wounds (to the abdomen and limbs, head and chest) caused by shrapnel, as well as open fractures and head injuries. Ten patients were referred to larger medical facilities in neighbouring Peshawar and Kohat for specialist medical treatment. 

“We had dozens of people rushing in; injured patients, relatives and onlookers. We had to prioritise access to the wounded and give space to medical staff to provide urgent treatment,” said Linossier.
This is the first major blast incident in Hangu since May 2011, when a suicide attack left 36 people dead and some 60 wounded. Hangu is part of Orakzai Agency, in Pakistan's border region.

MSF in Hangu 

Since May 2010, an MSF team of international and national staff have been providing emergency surgery and treatment for people wounded in the conflict and suffering from life-threatening injuries. MSF runs the emergency department and the emergency operating theatre of Tehsil headquarter hospital in Hangu district. 

In 2012, MSF treated over 22,500 patients in the emergency department and conducted over 500 emergency surgical procedures. Some 600 patients were referred to Peshawar for specialist surgical and medical care. From July to October 2012, MSF treated some 1,050 patients in response to an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea. 

MSF currently has 143 staff working in Hangu, including 21 staff in the emergency department and operating theatre.  

To ensure a safe environment for all patients, guaranteeing that all people have access to medical treatment, regardless of their political or other affiliations; Tehsil headquarter hospital remains a weapon-free zone to be respected by all authorities and communities.

MSF in Pakistan

Since 1986, MSF has been working in Pakistan with Pakistani communities and Afghan refugees who are victims of armed conflict and natural disasters or who lack access to medical care. MSF teams are currently providing free emergency medical care in Kurram Agency, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

MSF relies solely on private financial contributions from individuals around the world and does not accept funding from any government, donor agency or military or politically affiliated group for its activities in Pakistan.