MSF first response to Cyclone Nargis was immediate and essential

Interview with Frank Smithius, MSF Head of Mission, Yangon, Myanmar

"We started straight away by sending medical staff with medecines and medical material, rice, chlorine to purify the water and shelters. And that is what we did without assessment, we just went with the first trucks and that is what we are still doing. We are slowly, gradually spreading out on the area."

"We have about 200 national staff in Labutta and we do the same as we started: we distribute rice, we coordinate water, we provide shelters and we treat patients for wounds, fever and diarrhoea."

"For the near future, I think our main worry is that people do not have shelter, do not have rice and that there will be a water problem. And the water problem will then possibly lead to outbreak of diarrhoea. That would be my most important problem.

"The main problem with the government is they do not accept international staff. And we would like to have some international staff.

We don't need a whole invasion but we need a few people to coordinate, a few people with experience. And particularly a few people with experience in water and sanitation, because the material we brought in. In Myanmar, we had an AIDS program and a malaria program and we are actually not very much involved with water and sanitation."