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Monday, 27 December, 2004

Médecins Sans Frontières efforts

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) - International activity in the crisis region:

MSF is planning to send a full charter from Ostende, Belgium to Medan, in northern Sumatra (just outside Aceh), with 32 tons of medical and sanitation materials. It was originally hoped that it could leave tonight (December 27), but problems finding an available plane has delayed the flight until Wednesday. This flight is not yet confirmed.
Four expat staff (including one medical doctor, two logisticians and the Head of Mission) are ready to leave from Jakarta to Banda Aceh. They will hopefully be able to leave by Wednesday December 29 at the latest. More staff are ready to leave from Europe if necessary. Air assessment of Aceh with helicopters is planned for tomorrow or Wednesday.
The current official death toll for Indonesia is 5,000, but there is, as yet, absolutely no information about a long stretch of the west coast of northern Sumatra.
Malaria and dengue fever are anticipated to be serious problems. The desalination of water supplies will have to be a priority because salt water is contaminating fresh water supplies. Plans to provide psychological support for survivors.

Sri Lanka:
Multiple teams from MSF operation centres are heading to the Sri Lanka. A six person team is leaving for Colombo tonight, half of them from Europe (London, UK) and the rest from Japan. The team includes one surgeon, one doctor, one nurse and two logisticians. They will go to the north east part of Sri Lanka, where MSF has worked previously. Also, they are heading for the coastal town of Batticaloa immediately.
An additional two person team (one medical one non-medical) will also travel to Colombo. One will arrive tonight, the other tomorrow.
A third team is leaving from Switzerland.
In Australia, ten volunteers on stand-by, ready to leave as soon as necessary for short-term missions.

MSF has an exploratory team en route to Phuket today. The team is collecting information in order to buy relief non-food items such as blankets and plastic sheeting for shelter from the local markets for immediate distribution.

MSF has two doctors conducting an exploratory mission in Penang. Current reports from the field state that they have seen a lot of material damage: the police, army and other services have started the clean up. The death toll for the whole of Malaysia is currently estimated at 17, with a few hundred injured. People seem to be coping, but MSF only has information from the larger cities. The exploratory team will try to go to some small coastal villages tomorrow.

Myanmar (Burma):
MSF has dispatched a team to carry out an exploratory mission in Myiek, in the far south of Myanmar.

MSF has a two person team carrying out an exploratory mission in parts of southern India. The team has arrived in Chenai, where the Government is organising food distributions and health posts. Tomorrow (December 28) they will travel to the southern-most tip.

Other locations:
MSF field teams in all countries where we are already present with mission, including Somalia and Kenya in Africa where flooding has been reported, are investigating damage.