August 18, 1999

Full Cargo of Supplies Under Way

New York/Brussels, August 19, 1999 — Four teams from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are now assisting in the relief efforts for the earthquake victims in Turkey. Two teams have assessed the most urgent needs in Izmit and Adapazar. MSF plans to set up field hospitals and dispensaries in these cities and is flying in the necessary materials today. An additional team is providing aid in the worst hit suburbs of Istanbul. All teams consist of a combination of international aid workers and Turkish doctors.

MSF has also sent in a nephrologist (a kidney specialist), who has started working with a Turkish colleague and will be joined by five dialysis nurses. Experience treating earthquake victims shows that kidney failure is a major cause of death among those who survive their initial injuries. Crushed muscle tissue releases toxins that quickly cause kidney failure.

The charter plane which MSF is sending today contains medical materials, surgical materials, tents, hospital tents, blankets, and materials for safe water supply and sanitation.

MSF is the world's largest independent international medical relief agency aiding victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters, and others who lack health care due to geographic remoteness or ethnic marginalization in more than 80 countries.