China: MSF Team Assesses Needs in Earthquake Zone

According to official Chinese media, the death toll from the 6.9 magnitude earthquake last Wednesday in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu has reached 1,706 with 12,128 people injured, 1,394 of them severely.

A three-person MSF assessment team arrived to the town of Jiegu in Yushu on Saturday evening and spent Sunday meeting officials and looking at medical needs. The team met with the local Public Health Bureau as well as officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who said that MSF’s assistance with the initial emergency response phase was not needed.

 The most severely injured quake victims have already been evacuated to facilities in the provincial capital, Xining, and to neighboring provinces. The military has set up a large field hospital in the center of Jiegu that is staffed by military health workers and civilian volunteers. The MSF assessment team saw the facility and said that it is not overwhelmed and that a well-equipped intensive care unit is fully operational.

 The team will continue its assessment Monday, looking at villages outside of Jiegu to see if medical needs exist. Damage from the quake is extensive and all previously functioning health structures in Jiegu are either destroyed or damaged. The team will look at ways MSF can assist in renovating the structures that have been closed by the earthquake.