September 28, 1998
Aid to Hurricane-Ravaged Dominican Republic and Haiti
MSF personnel based in Costa Rica and Guatemala are bringing aid to hurricane victims in Haiti and going on an exploratory mission to assess relief needs in the Dominican Republic. Hurricane Georges has caused enormous destruction in both countries, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. MSF's hurricane-relief operations in Haiti began on Friday, September 25, with an airlift from Costa Rica of 10 metric tons of shelter material and water and sanitation material. The exploratory team bound for the Dominican Republic also boarded the relief plane in order to travel overland from Haiti to the Dominican Republic as the airport there is closed.
Flood Relief in Northern Sudan
While MSF teams continue their efforts to battle the famine ravaging southern Sudan, teams in the capital city of Khartoum in northern Sudan are working hard to contain a cholera outbreak in refugee camps severely damaged by recent flooding. Some of the camps remain under water, and houses and public facilities have been washed away. In the Omdurman camp, MSF is improving the water supply and sanitation by chlorinating the water in hand pumps, water carts, and water tanks. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and a local organization, MSF will provide personnel and logistical help to set up a 24-hour cholera treatment center.
Treating a Measles Outbreak in Somalia
A measles epidemic that has affected Mogadishu over the past few months has now spread to the town of Galkayo, Somalia. 64 cases of measles have been detected in Galkayo, which has an estimated population of 50,000. UNICEF this week started vaccinating all children under twelve years old, and so far more than 4,500 have been vaccinated. MSF, which already has a project in Galkayo, is taking responsibility for the curative part of the measles program. The MSF team in the Galkayo regional hospital is providing drugs for treating measles, a generator to keep vaccines refrigerated, and special training for nursing staff. Because the local people believe that patients should be isolated at home so as not to infect others, some infected children may not be receiving treatment. MSF is mounting a task force using megaphone, radio, and television to publicize the need for having children vaccinated and bringing those infected with measles to the hospital.
New Mental Health Program in Southern Lebanon
"MSF has been very well received by the local authorities in Nabatiye and Jezzine," reports country manager Franke de Jonge from Beirut. MSF began its new mental health program in these two locations in southern Lebanon on August 1. MSF is training local psychologists to recognize the signals of stress and trauma among the people of Nabatiye and surrounding villages that have suffered from years of civil strife. Psychology students from two universities in Beirut are also participating in the teams and 60 first aid workers in Nabatiye will be trained. MSF will also help draw up an emergency preparedness plan in collaboration with the authorities. "In this way we want to enable the villages to deal better with the continual violence," says Franke de Jonge.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)