February 3, 1999
Aiding Victims of Colombia Earthquake
Immediately following the devastating earthquake that rocked western Colombia on Monday, January 25, MSF personnel from projects in Bogota and Cali traveled to the affected region of Armenia to evaluate the medical needs. Emergency backup personnel and a full charter of 40 tons of medical, sanitation, and shelter supplies arrived in Armenia within three days. Currently, 20 MSF volunteers are working in the hard-hit villages of Calarca and Tebaida near Armenia. Two teams are providing medical care for those injured during the earthquake and those developing diarrhea and other illnesses due to the poor sanitary conditions following the disaster. A third MSF team is setting up water distribution and chlorination systems as well as repairing the destroyed sanitation systems in the villages. It is now estimated that 1,300 people died in the earthquake and 7,000 individuals are still listed as missing. Aftershocks continue to make the situation precarious.
Reopening Programs in Sierra Leone
After evacuating international staff from the country due to heavy fighting between rebels from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the West African peacekeeping force ECOMOG earlier this year, MSF is currently sending in teams to Bo and Freetown. The security situation and health needs are being evaluated in order to resume programs in these regions as soon as possible. A medical team traveled to Freetown today to visit Connaught and Netlands hospitals in the hope of resuming surgical and pharmaceutical support to the local staff there. The recent round of fighting has resulted in an influx of dozens of new amputee victims to Freetown's hospitals and the hospital staff is desperately in need of surgical expertise, medicines, and anesthetics. Four international volunteers living just over the border in neighboring Guinea travel each day to Kambia, Sierra Leone, where they are running a feeding center and healthcare program for people displaced by the fighting.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)