MSF continues medical consultations and provides body bags in Aceh

MSF yesterday returned by helicopter to Lhok Timon along the west coast of the Aceh Province of Northern Sumatra to provide medical consultations.

Following the tsunami, only 1,270 people of the original population of 3,200 are still in the village. Those remaining have been living on coconuts and have been reduced to eating their livestock.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of lighters and matches to start a fire, many have been unable to cook their meat properly. The result is that diarrhoea is one of the main three pathologies being treated by MSF doctors. Wounds and respiratory tract infections are also common.

As in the previous days, MSF has been providing mental trauma counselling on the spot to help people cope with their loss and anxiety. From nearby Calang, MSF took two people back to Banda Aceh in their helicopter for hospitalization: one is a 14-year old girl with an acute open arm wound, the other a man of 45 with a hole in his chest.

Medical consultations in Cot Keung, Banda Aceh, also continued, with two teams providing 184 consultations. Faced with a lack of clean water, the MSF water and sanitation team has set up a five cubic metre water bladder to provide for a population of 1,700 in the Depkes Building in Cik Di Tiro (Banda Aceh).

A newly-constructed washing area in the location opened on Sunday. Despite advances, corpses still remain in the streets of Banda Aceh. MSF has provided 217 body bags (with another 230 to follow today) to the Indonesian soldiers and civilian volunteers who have been dealing with this particular task for almost a week. In addition, MSF is going to install disinfection points for these workers and will train the staff of the Indonesian Red Crescent in the coming days.

An assessment team has also been dispatched to villages east of Banda Aceh. In the district of Sigli, there are around 12,000 people displaced and local organisations are providing medical care. The lower part of Sigli has been completely destroyed. The team also went to Batee, west of Sigli, when there are serious concerns about the state of water supply and sanitation.

The team will return to the east coast tomorrow. On Sunday, a team brought in 40 tonnes of supplies which includes medical materials, drugs, water and sanitation materials and food items, in addition to the 79 tonnes of supplies that has also arrived in recent days. MSF has 17 international and 25 Indonesian staff working in Aceh.