Doctors Without Borders Sends Relief Teams and Cargo to Asian Earthquake Area

First projects up and running in Pakistan and Indian Kashmir

Photo © MSF

Islamabad, 10 October 2005 – The international medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has started to provide medical assistance and relief goods to the victims of last Saturday's earthquake in Pakistan and India. In the Pakistani and Indian controlled sides of Kashmir, MSF teams are focusing on medical assistance, mental health counseling, and the distribution of relief and medical supplies to assist the existing response.

In Pakistan, an MSF team is offering medical assistance in the local district hospital in the town of Muzaffarabad, northeast of the capital Islamabad. From Muzaffarabad several teams will focus on delivering medical and relief assistance to some areas Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

"Our supplies and team members have reached Muzaffarabad, near the epicentre of the earthquake. From there we will be able to give more assistance to the Kashmir region. But access to the more remote areas remains the biggest challenge," says Isabelle Simpson, MSF coordinator in Pakistan.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, teams are concentrating on giving assistance to the towns of Baramullah and Uri and the region of Tangdar. Additional medical and logistical supplies are under way. Additional support is also being given to the hospital of Srinagar.

Photo © MSF
"The hospital in Srinagar has received many of the disaster victims from the Uri region. MSF has donated bandages and is now organizing shipments of more medicines," says Hans van de Weerd, MSF coordinator in India. In both regions, MSF is setting up psycho-social support programs for those who have lost family members, especially children who have lost their parents. Additional doctors, nurses, mental health officers, water and sanitation experts, and logisticians are being sent to the affected areas. Medical and relief supplies are already being distributed at various locations. More supplies are en route from France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, as well as being purchased locally. The focus is mainly on providing medical supplies, winterized tents, jerry cans, sleeping mats, water purification material, hygiene kits, and blankets.