Three MSF teams now working at second earthquake region

MSF has conducted its first assessment of the second recent earthquake zone in El Salvador. MSF teams were already in the country providing services from the first trauma, and now teams have been dispatched to assist in the new earthquake zone. The second quake, measuring 6.1 on, the Richter Scale, struck at 8.20am on February 13 and primarily affected areas not involved in the first quake. MSF hired a helicopter to conduct an inital assessment of the zone as reports indicated damage to roads as well as excess traffic would make a land-evaluation impossible. The more recent earthquake has struck a precise area, from Ilopango Lake then heading east until San Vicente. Roads and infrastructure are severely damaged and dozens of villages have been completely destroyed. Those in the countryside who have been wounded are being transferred via helicopters from the Salvadoran army to San Salvador hospitals (Army hospital, Zacamil, Bloom and Rosales). In San Vicente, MSF assisted Salvadoran doctors in providing some care. Some of the severely wounded were transferred with the MSF-hired helicopter. MSF staff have identified the most urgent and populated places to intervene and are providing support to local hospitals and health centres, as well assisting with camps for the local population. No MSF staff or family members have been injured. Following the strategy employed during the first earthquake, inital MSF efforts are being assembled through ongoing Central American projects. Some of the non-medical projects dealing with the aftermath of the first quake have been temporarily suspended in order to reallocate staff to the present emergency. Three MSF teams have been formed and dispatched to the field and MSF shall be focusing on San Vicente City, in the San Vincente Department), Zacatecoluca -in the La Paz Department and Cojutepeque in the Cuscatlan Department. Each team is composed of a medical doctor, a nurse, a log/watsan, and a driver (the MSF psychologist was part of one team). Each team has left with medical, logistic and watsan material. The material has been allocated to the teams according to the: number of affected people (wounded and displaced); number of health structures damaged and or available; and the needs expressed by the COEN (National Emergency Committee). San Vincente The first team, in San Vicente city is already working and will stay overnight. Around one third of the city has been destroyed and approximately 40% (80,000 people) of the department affected. The team has installed dispensary tents for hospital emergencies and provided medical supplies to the hospital according to the needs detected. There are approximately five camps around the city but due to the lack of power it was impossible to work or assess these places immediately. The team intends to revisit on February 14 to distribute blankets and install watsan and logistical equipment in the urban and displaced camps, as well as in rural areas that have not been yet reached. Zacatecoluca The team in Zacatecoluca has done a quick assessement. All the hospital patients have been taken out of the hospital and MSF has donated medical material. COEN plans to build a displaced camp in Zacatecoluca tomorrow (Feb 14) and MSF will determine needs then. The team also plans to assist nearby communities hit by the quake. Cojutepeque With Cojutepeque just 40 minutes from San Salvador, the MSF team there is able to remain at the San Salvador base and shall return to Cojutepeque daily. The hospital there is basically organized. There is a military tent installed in the garden that is meeting the immediate needs. As of 18.00 hrs, Feb 13, hospital figures show:
  • 283 emergency assistances
  • 23 incoming patients
  • 0 deaths inside the hospital
  • 4 deaths outside the hospital
  • 9 surgeries
  • 64 referred patients to San Salvador hospitals. Twenty of the Cuban doctors who were working in Sonsonate are now working at the hospital. MSF donated all the material the team had brought for the hospital, including:
  • two Trigano tents
  • 120 blankets
  • one surgical kit
  • surgical instruments. Additonal assistance from other MSF missions in Central America includes: Guatemala Two log watsan, one driver (log) and a substantial supply of material. All are scheduled to arrive on February 14. An additional orthopedic surgeon may be brought in if needed. Nicaragua Two medical doctors, one psychologist and two logistician/watsan staff. CostaRica Materials (plastic sheeting mainly). Honduras A watsan staff member and a nurse are on standby. Despite the current emergency, not all MSF projects from the previous earthquake could be closed. The team in Armenia will continue working there as well as the team in El Cafetalón and Polideportivo. The teams working in Comasagua and Juayua are on stand-by.