MSF teams work to access regions most isolated after Indonesian earthquake

Three days after a powerful earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra leaving close to 1,000 dead, approximately 3,000 missing, and more than 3,000 wounded, the first Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams arrived in the area, on Saturday, October 3.

About 20 workers - including surgeons, kidney specialists, nurses, psychologists, and logisticians - have started to assess the needs in the city of Padang and in the surrounding area.

Massive amounts of aid – sent by the Indonesian authorities and from abroad– has already reached Padang, the major city of the region and one of the most affected by the earthquake. MSF first assessed the situation in the city’s hospitals, where crucial aid has already been provided. In a second phase, MSF teams have started to evaluate the needs in the surrounding region.

An area of great concern is Pariaman, one of the most affected towns located approximately 50 kilometres north of Padang, as well as the surrounding rural areas, where several villages have been completely destroyed by landslides and access of relief efforts is still difficult.

While relief material is on its way to Sumatra, MSF teams will focus their efforts on trying to access the areas where aid is still lacking and identify the most urgent needs.