Pakistan: MSF Treats Survivors of Hangu Explosion

MSF treated 55 wounded patients in Hangu following the February 1 bombing in the town's market.

HANGU, PAKISTAN/NEW YORK, February 2, 2013 – Following a bomb blast on February 1 in the Pat Bazaar area of Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 55 injured patients were treated by the independent medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Ministry of Health staff in the emergency room of Tehsil Headquarter hospital in Hangu.

The explosion struck outside two mosques in an alley in Pat Bazaar, injuring and killing dozens of people who were leaving a mosque after Friday afternoon prayers.

“The explosion was close to the hospital,” said Cédric Linossier, MSF project coordinator. “Patients began arriving within minutes. Our medical team began to rapidly identify and give priority to patient’s medical needs according to the severity of their injuries. We were racing against time to treat and stabilize the patients.”

Medical teams carried out five emergency surgeries and stabilized 50 patients. The patients suffered blast-related injuries including open wounds from shrapnel and open fractures and head injuries. Emergency surgery and treatment was provided to the wounded accordingly. Ten patients have been referred to larger medical care facilities in neighboring Peshawar and Kohat for specialized medical treatment.

This was the first major bombing in Hangu since May 2011 when a suicide attack left 36 people dead and some 60 wounded.

Since May 2010, a team of international and national staff from MSF have been providing emergency surgery and treatment for people wounded by armed conflict and others suffering from life-threatening injuries. MSF runs the emergency department and the emergency operating theater of the Tehsil Headquarter hospital in Hangu district.

In 2012, MSF treated more than 22,556 patients in the emergency room and conducted more than 500 emergency surgeries. Six hundred cases were referred to Peshawar for specialized surgical and medical care. From July to October 2012, in response to an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea, MSF treated 1,054 patients.

MSF currently has 143 Pakistani and international staff working in Hangu, including 21 staff in the emergency room and operating theater.

To ensure a safe environment for all patients, guaranteeing that all people have access to medical treatment, regardless of their political or other affiliations, the Tehsil Headquarter hospital remains a weapons-free zone to be respected by all authorities and communities.

Since 1986, MSF has been working in Pakistan with Pakistani communities and Afghan refugees who are victims of armed conflict and natural disasters or who lack access to medical care. MSF teams are currently providing free emergency medical care in Kurram Agency, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

MSF relies solely on private financial contributions from individuals around the world and does not accept funding from any government, donor agency or military or politically affiliated group for its activities in Pakistan.