Treating the displaced in Lamno, Indonesia
7 January 2005
Over the past days an MSF team has been giving consultations in two displaced camps in the town of Lamno, on the west coast on Aceh, about 100kms from Banda Aceh. In "Posko SMA 1 Jaya", a school that houses 2,286 displaced from nine villages, the medical team saw 141 people on Tuesday afternoon (January 4). Wounds, respiratory tract infections, diarrhea and skin diseases were the most common ailments treated. In "Pasko Masjid Sabang", a mosque compound of 800 displaced, MSF performed 61 consultations with similar pathologies. Although very close to the epicentre of the earthquake and the first landmass for the tsunami, Lamno was not destroyed due to its geographically-protected location. But most of the surrounding villages were washed away, with death tolls per village of up to 80 per cent. Most of the remaining people have fled to Lamno where the total number of displaced has reached 10,921. With a lack of facilities, abundant garbage and overcrowded living spaces in the three schools where people have sought refuge, the sanitation situation in Lamno is particularly preoccupying. MSF will deliver water bladders, distribution ramps, sheeting, pumps, chlorine and other materials for setting up water points in the schools. The team will additionally undertake the construction of latrines. Similarly, in Lam Teungoh the situation is also dire. Along a murky river, 1,200 displaced live in any construction available. MSF will provide household containers which will allow people to filter the water from the wells or the river. A further exploratory team has also departed for Meulaboh by helicopter where MSF nurses will take charge of a hospital surgery ward. In the 29 displaced camps (total population of around 30,000) they found a comparable situation as in Banda Aceh and plan to start mobile clinics. The surgical intervention in Sigli is also continuing. Logistics is proving to be a constant problem with delays in the transportation of supplies and staff. Despite this the Rainbow Warrior is ferrying personnel and materials and a further plane has arrived from Jakarta carrying 8.5 tonnes of logistic supplies for MSF. By January 5, MSF had 74 staff in Aceh; 40 are Indonesian.