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MSF increases assistance in post-earthquake region of Peru

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MSF is working at the Peru earthquake with 40 team members, comprised on both international and Peruvian staff members with a focus on; post-operative and post-trauma care; mental health care; water and sanitation; and distribution of relief items.

MSF first started working at the Peru earthquake on August 17, with staff and a shipment of relief supplies to the region. To date, over 2,200 people have benefited from the MSF mental health programme and, so far, 2,500 families (around 12,500 people) have benefited from MSF distributions of relief goods.

On Friday, August 31, MSF opened of a new outpatient centre in Pisco, to offer post-operative and post-trauma care.

Among about 1,000 wounded people who have been referred to Lima hospitals, around 600 originated from Pisco. It is estimated that between 60 and 120 of them will need post-operative care and rehabilitation (physiotherapy). On Friday, August 31, MSF opened a 'Post-trauma Medical Centre' in central Pisco, integrated into the San Juan de Dios hospital.

This new structure will function as an outpatient department, providing medical care, dressings, and rehabilitation activities.

MSF will also offer psychological support, both at individual and family levels. A medical team is already doing home visits to identify the patients who need care.

Medical activities

In Guadalupe, Ica Province, 100 km southeast of Pisco, MSF is supporting the health centre with medical material, drugs, supplies and human resources. A medical team (one doctor, one nurse) has been doing 20 to 30 home visits per day and has identified nine wounded who still have various untreated fractures, a particularly high number more than 15 days after the quake.

The mobile clinics in the districts east of Pisco have been replaced by increased support to the health structures. So far, MSF has been supporting nine health structures with drug supplies. The main health problems are still respiratory tract infections, diarrhoea and psychological traumas. The MSF team also offers emotional debriefing to health staff.

Mental health

To date, over 2,200 people have benefited from the MSF mental helth programme. A team of eight psychologists is organizing activities with the children, meetings, psycho-educative group sessions ('charlas'), and a number of individual consultations. They have carried out a total of 144 individual consultations and 106 group sessions in Pisco (in four collective centres), San Clemente (in four collective centres), Humay district, Independencia district, Guadalupe and Ica. Since the start of the mental health activities in Guadalupe on Monday August 27, the number of beneficiaries has seen a strong increase.

In the capital, Lima, a psychologist is in charge of the psychological follow-up of the wounded referred to the hospitals and of their relatives.

Water and sanitation

In Guadalupe, MSF is developing a water and sanitation as well as a psychosocial programme. MSF is also organising the reference of patients suffering from physical trauma who were not treated properly after the earthquake.

Given the poor living conditions of more than 10,000 people in Guadalupe, MSF has designed a place where people will be able to bathe, access clean water and latrines. This "well-being space" will now be built next to Guadalupe's health centre and will benefit to around 200 families. The main goal is to give the people access to basic hygiene conditions and to help restore their dignity. In the meantime, the MSF logistical team has installed a water bladder containing 15,000 litres of chlorinated water in one of the most affected areas of Guadalupe.

In addition, teams of social workers are raising awareness of the population about basic hygiene practices and the risks of waterborne diseases in Guadalupe, Huancano and Humay.

In Pisco, the hygiene situation remains fragile. Today, there is still only one latrine for 147 people on average and the departure of several organizations has raised concerns.

Distribution of relief items

Some 3,000 blankets and 1,500 hygiene kits have been distributed in the districts of Humay, Independencia and Huancano (east of Pisco). Blankets were urgently needed, given the low temperatures at night.

On Saturday September 1, MSF began the distribution of hygiene kits and blankets in the town of Guadalupe. In one day, 800 blankets were distributed (two per family, and additional blankets to children under 5 years, elderly, or sick persons) together with the same amount of hygiene kits. A hygiene kit consists of soap, basin, towel, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. In addition, 100 jerrycans were given to the various collective kitchens, the so-called 'ollas' that people have organised.

MSF is going to participate in the construction of temporary houses in Guadalupe, for an estimated duration of six months, until they are given a proper house. The building of these temporary houses will involve the community and will be based on local material.