June 1, 1998
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Afghanistan. MSF Teams Arrive Within Hours
A major earthquake struck northern Afghanistan on Saturday, May 28, 1998, killing between 3,000-5,000 people. This is the second major quake since February, and is reported to have been much more devastating than the last. The quake, which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, destroyed 60 villages. MSF teams based in northern Afghanistan reached the victims of this latest quake within hours. Low cloud cover, rain, and mist is hampering operations in the region, which lies along the Tajikistan border.
Food Crisis Continues in Southern Sudan
MSF teams continue to fight the food crisis in the Bahr el Ghazal province of southern Sudan to avert a widespread famine. The crisis, which began in February, is the result of both a poor harvest and Sudan's ongoing civil war, which has caused massive population displacements. Volunteers, working in close cooperation with local staff, are distributing food and providing health care to thousands of malnourished people. Since February, 12,515 children have been screened for malnutrition in seven MSF health centers in the region. Approximately 40 percent of the children have been found to be suffering from global malnutrition. The total number of children who are being assisted in supplementary feeding programs has increased approximately 400 percent in the last ten weeks. MSF teams made up of 45 international volunteers and 400 local staff members work in seven areas of Bahr el Gazal.
Situation Worsens in Sierra Leone
Since April 6, 1998, 250 patients suffering from severe mutilations have been treated by an MSF surgical team working in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The victims, including children, have arrived at the hospital with limbs or ears cut off, burns, and other traumas. MSF has evacuated 14 wounded people, 7 suffering from amputations, out of the eastern and central regions of Sierra Leone by helicopter. Teams are also monitoring children for malnutrition in these areas.
Cholera Still Rages Around the World
A global cholera epidemic has raged throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin and South America since last winter. MSF teams were instrumental in controlling these epidemics in numerous countries, although several new epidemics have recently appeared.
Tanzania:More than 1,080 cholera cases, including 26 deaths were registered during the week of May 11 in Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. Although, teams feared that the situation would grow worse due to problems with water and sanitation systems caused by rain, they were able to quickly control the situation. MSF has been working in Tanzania since 1996 improving access to local health care, with a strong focus on maternal/child healthcare.
Peru:A cholera epidemic continues in Iquitos, Peru, where more than 180 cases were registered in the last two weeks. MSF is collaborating with authorities to bring the epidemic under control.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)