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MSF continues medical aid operations in Aceh
January 3, 2005
BANDAH ACEH, Indonesia, January 3, 2005 — Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical teams returned yesterday by helicopter to Lhok Timon along the west coast of Banda Aceh to provide medical consultations. Following the tsunami, only 1,270 people of the original population of 3,200 are still in the village. Those remaining have been living on coconuts and have been reduced to eating their livestock.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of lighters and matches to start fires, many people have been unable to cook their meat properly. The result is that diarrhea is one of the three main pathologies being treated by MSF medical teams. Wounds and respiratory tract infections are also common. As in the previous days, MSF has been providing psychosocial trauma counseling to help people cope with their loss and anxiety.
From nearby Calang, MSF took two people back to Banda Aceh in their helicopter for hospitalization: one is a 14-year-old girl with an acute open arm wound and the other a man of 45 with a severe chest wound. Two MSF teams provided more than 180 medical consultations in Cot Keung, Banda Aceh.
Faced with a lack of clean water, the MSF water and sanitation team has set up a five cubic meter water bladder to provide for a population of 1,700 in the Depkes building in Cik Di Tiro, Banda Aceh. The construction of a washing area in the location opened on Sunday.
Despite progress in the clean-up efforts, corpses still remain in the streets of Banda Aceh. MSF has provided more than 200 body bags—with another 230 to follow today—to the Indonesian authorities who have been collecting bodies over the past week.
An assessment team has also been dispatched to villages east of Banda Aceh. In the district of Sigli, there are around 12,000 people displaced and local organizations are providing medical care. The lower part of Sigli has been completely destroyed. The team also went to Batee, west of Sigli, when there are serious concerns about the state of water supply and sanitation. The team will return to the east coast tomorrow.
On Sunday, a team brought in 40 tons of supplies, which includes medical materials, drugs, water and sanitation materials, and food, in addition to the 79 tons of supplies that has also arrived in recent days. MSF has 17 international and 25 Indonesian staff working in Aceh.