Following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck China’s southwestern province of Sichuan on Monday, 2:28pm local time, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will today dispatch its first medical teams to one of the worst hit areas.
According to state media, China’s most devastating earthquake in 30 years left nearly 10,000 dead and scores more are feared dead or injured. Roads and communications in Wenchuan, the worst hit county with a population of over 110,000, have been cut off since the quake struck, and access to the affected population in this mountainous region is extremely difficult.
An MSF team composed of two medical doctors and an administrative assistant will leave for the provincial capital Chengdu tonight to assess the immediate needs of the population. At the time of the quake, the team was working in Nanning, Guangxi Province, where MSF has been treating patients with HIV/AIDS since 2003.
MSF is sending another team consisting of a medical doctor, a clinical officer, and an experienced logistician from Beijing to the areas affected by the earthquake. Depending on their assessment of the needs MSF will reinforce its teams on the ground.