A full charter with 40 tonnes of medical supplies, plastic sheeting, therapeutic food, and water and sanitation equipment, is flying today at 16:00 from Europe.
There are four further shipments of supplies ready to be dispatched to Myanmar, totalling 160 tons, including medical supplies, therapeutic food, plastic sheeting and water and sanitation equipment. They are ready to fly from Europe, Dubai and Jakarta. These cargos should leave in the next few days pending authorizations from the Myanmar (Burma) authorities. Current in-country supplies are limited and MSF's activities cannot be sustained indefinitely without international cargo shipments.
In total, MSF has 43 international staff and over 1,200 national staff currently working in Myanmar. MSF also awaits the approval of dozens of visa applications for technical support staff and coordinators submitted to various embassies around the world.
MSF is intensifying its response, with teams providing emergency assistance in some of the most affected areas by Cyclone Nargis. MSF teams are providing food, basic relief items and medical care, and are improving access to clean water. A first cargo plane carrying 40 tons of relief supplies and medical materials is leaving Europe today for Yangon, Myanmar.
Wounds and diarrhea
In the southwest of the Ayeyarwaddy River Delta, MSF is supporting the hospital of Bassein. To the south of Bassein, MSF has so far done several hundred consultations in Haigyi, Pyinsalu and Tongwa, about half of which were for cyclone-related wounds while most of the rest had diarrhea, fever and respiratory infections.
MSF teams are using two boats to reach the most affected areas on both sides of the Bassein River. With teams set up in Haigyi, Tongwa, and Pyinsalu, MSF is in the process of expanding to other villages. MSF teams have seen many dead bodies, but it is difficult to give an estimate of how many people have died.
There are a huge number of flattened houses and other structures and much of the area remains flooded. This is posing problems in finding suitable places to set up facilities to provide medical consultations.
So far, nine truckloads of supplies have gone to Bassein, including 14,000 pieces of plastic sheeting, 62 tons of rice, as well as oil, fish and therapeutic food. Most of these supplies have gone south on boats to Haigyi and other project areas.
As of today there will be about 70 MSF staff working in this area with many more on the way from MSF's established projects in other parts of the country.
Acute needs in Bogalay
Further east, in Twantey township three MSF teams have distributed food rations (rice, oil, beans and fish) to 3,000 people who lost all their belongings in the cyclone. MSF is carrying out medical consultations in places where homeless have sought refuge, such as pagodas and schools. MSF also rehabilitated latrines, wells, and water pumps.
Other MSF teams used boats to reach Bogaley, a district of 100,000 people, heavily hit by the cyclone. Thousands of people have been killed in the cyclone and many more made homeless. The hospital in Bogaley is still functioning but seven out of the eight health centres in the area have been destroyed.
MSF has started distributing food and providing medical care to the people. Wells and water are in need of repair as they have been contaminated leading to a number of cases of diarrhea.
Trucks with food, relief items and medical material for the hospital are on their way to Bogaley. MSF workers from other projects in the country are also coming to reinforce the team.
The MSF team is also heading further south to the Kyonkadun area, which has a population of over 200,000.