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Earthquake in Bam: Diary of a Disaster
Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - Dr. Jean Paul Delain, Medical Coordinator
January 8, 2004
"Bam is a city in ruins. A city where survivors have a blank look in their eyes, hit by the harsh reality where all that remains are outlines of a few buildings, houses—and, at their feet the few family members who survived this collective nightmare. We are traveling through the city: the same sight continues for miles. In front of the tents installed in gardens, we see sad people who do not want to leave their home that has now become a family grave."
It will take a few days to understand who does what among all the no-governmental organizations (NGOs), in order to create relevant operational guidelines: primary health care, hygiene kit distribution, mobile or fixed strategies, psychological support programâ€¦ Each tent contains many personal dramas and faces marked by grief."
Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - Azadeh Namdar Mofrad, Iranian nurse from Mashad (northeast Iran)
"I work with MSF in Mashad as a nurse. Since 1998, I have had the opportunity to assist Afghan refugees in Mashad. But this is the first time I am helping my fellow citizens. When I arrived in Bam, I had this strange feeling that I was being sucked into an unimaginable nightmare. How can one lose everything one has in a few seconds? It was terrible.
With Eric, the MSF doctor from Zahedan, we first went through the city and its surroundings. We stopped at each tent to talk to people, treating injuries - some more and some less serious. They needed and still need our support and I am proud to be able to provide them with a little relief. I am happy about this mobilization, all the NGOs that came here to help and the journalists who have shown the world what is going on here."
Monday, January 6, 2004 -Dr. Jean-FranÃ§ois Corty, MSF Head of Mission in Iran
"Ten days after the earthquake, new questions arise. The official death toll is 40,000 people; the number of survivors in Bam and its surroundings is estimated at 40,000 people, 23,000 for the city of Bam alone. After having fled the disaster area, the survivors are now coming back.
The authorities have created camps for the displaced in Bam in order to channel the movements of the population and to clean the city for future reconstruction. While some families want to return to their homes, others are ready to stay in the camps. So, the authorities have provided about 15,000 more tents to meet the needs of the survivors. Six out of the 12 field hospitals mounted in the beginning are still operational. The authorities have asked us to take over the medical programs in the camps.
We are clarifying our long term objectives: improve access to basic health care, respond to psychological trauma and improve the living conditions of the survivors."
MSF Activities in and around Bam, Iran
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has set up medical clinics in several districts of Bam and in Baravat. MSF doctors and nurses provide general medical consultations and care, while MSF midwives provide Ob/Gyn consultations. Mobile medical teams are treating and assessing the needs in camps for the displaced. Mental Health professionals are responding to peoples' psychological trauma, in association with the Health Ministry, by establishing mental health programs in clinics and in mobile teams. MSF has also donated medical and logistical equipment to the Health Ministry, constructed and renovated latrines and showers in Bam and Baravat, and distributed BP5 (high protein biscuits), blankets, hygiene kits and sanitary napkins.