MSF sends teams to areas hit by earthquake in Indonesia

An earthquake of the magnitude 7.6 on the Richter Scale struck off the city of Padang on the western coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island, Wednesday, September 30, at 17.16 local time.

According to the government, more than 450 people have been killed and thousands are trapped under rubble. The worst affected areas are said to be the cities of Padang and Pariaman. Indonesian authorities have sent medical assistance and food to the area.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) ran medical projects in Indonesia until early 2009. Immediately after the quake hit, MSF was in contact with former Indonesian staff to get a clearer picture of the needs and to organise an assessment team to the affected areas.

In addition, today MSF is sending an emergency team of seven people with medical material from Brussels and Paris to Indonesia. The team is made up of a coordinator, nurse, surgeon, an anaesthetist, and a psychologist.

Two nephrologists from the 'Renal Disaster Relief Task Force' are leaving together with the MSF team. They will carry out dialysis procudures in order to treat the people suffering from ‘crush syndrome’, a condition where muscle tissue damaged by severe internal injury may release massive quantities of toxins into the bloodstream and lead to kidney failure. Left untreated, crush syndrome can be fatal.

MSF is preparing to send more staff and relief material.