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MSF Continues to Treat Earthquake Survivors
March 28, 2002
In the two days since a vicious earthquake pummeled the northeastern town of Nahrin, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have been working around the clock. Using trucks to transport the wounded to three large tent hospitals, MSF has treated 580 people, mainly for fractures and burns. Nearly 50 of the most critical patients have been sent to hospitals in Phul-i-Khumri, where MSF has sent a doctor and 200 emergency kits. Mobile teams are also traveling to neighboring regions to assess the needs of the populations there.
While the most immediate needs are shelter, food, and water, aid groups have had major problems getting to the area. Access to the remote mountainous region has proven even more difficult than usual because of badly damaged roads, the presence of countless landmines, and aftershock tremors measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale.
Many resources originally sent to address the nutritional crisis are being redirected to assist the earthquake victims, which creates a serious burden on the already extensive aid programs MSF runs in the areas. Severe malnutrition has beset northeastern Afghanistan because of an ongoing drought and decades of war. MSF feeds more than 4,000 children its nutritional centers, in addition to supporting numerous camps for the displaced, and consulting 45,000 patients per month in 18 clinics.