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Two MSF emergency teams reviewing needs at Sumatra earthquakes

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Following the earthquakes that have hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the Emergency Team of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Indonesia has started an evaluation of the damage and the medical needs among the population.

There have been two major earthquakes. The first earthquake, measuring 8.2 on the Richter Scale, was yesterday, about 80 miles off the coast, southwest of Bengkulu. The second, measuring 7.8, was today and was centred 115 miles southeast of Padang.

A first team arrived in the West Sumatra provincial capital of Padang and found that the initial needs were covered well. "They report a quick response from the authorities," said Luc van Leemput, MSF Coordinator for Indonesia.

"Outside the hospital, where patients had to be evacuated, tents had been erected immediately and a supply of clean water was already in place when our colleagues visited." This team is now exploring the situation along the coast between Padang and Bengkulu, a city further southeast and the capital of Bengkulu province.

A second team left from Jakarta by chartered plane this morning (Thursday, Sept 13) local time, carrying seven tons of relief supplies. The freight contains a surgical kit for 25 operations, dressing materials, five big tents and 1,000 blankets.

They will assess the needs in and around Bengkulu as quickly as possible. Each of the two teams is made up of medical, paramedical and logistics staff, most of them Indonesians. One of the teams also includes a psychologist.