April 14, 2006

N'Djamena/Brussels, April 14, 2006 – Since yesterday afternoon, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been treating heavily wounded civilians after widespread violence in Chad reached the capital city, N'Djamena. So far, surgical teams have supported the treatment of more than 60 people in the Hopital General de Reference National (HGNR), the main reference hospital in the country.

At 11:30 a.m. local time Thursday, security conditions were good enough for an MSF convoy to make its way to the Hopital General to support the local medical staff there. The MSF team working in the hospital consists of a surgeon, a doctor, a nurse, and a logistician. The team also brought to the hospital desperately needed medical supplies such as perfusion fluids, a surgical kit for 150 wounded patients, an amputation kit, and dressing materials.

"I was shocked by the seriousness of the injuries, like shredded limbs and very large open wounds," said Pierre Gielis, a veteran MSF surgeon. "We had to perform quite a lot of double inferior limbs amputations. Most of the wounded are quite young; we've been treating girls and even a 3-year-old baby."

The fighting has resulted in a large number of casualties. As yet, no clear estimations are available. As of today at noon, 64 civilians have been referred to HGRN and 45 to the Hôpital de la Liberté, the other hospital that MSF is supporting with medical supplies only.

All day long, vehicles of the Chadian Red Crescent, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and MSF brought more wounded to the hospital.

A second surgical team arrived in N'Djamena on Thursday afternoon. This allows for a 24-hour rotation between teams for post-surgery activities, which are now crucial. A third surgical team is on stand by for immediate departure to Chad.