MSF Brings First Relief to Villages on West Coast to Banda Aceh

Including 120 kilos of rice to a population of 1.500 people

In addition to its three medical teams in Banda Aceh, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) yesterday also brought a mobile clinic to the remote coastal town of Lhok Timon. The team was dropped by the MSF helicopter with materials for medical consultations. They also brought 120 kilos of rice to a population of 1,5000 people, who for 5 consecutive days have been living on coconuts (for adults) and coconuts and bananas (for children).

The population is living with 20 families per hut with people using plastic bags for additional shelter. The MSF psychologist organized a one-hour counseling session, in which 15 people were coping with their traumatic experiences.

One 15-years old boy's leg was so infected after injury when caught by the tidal wave that MSF immediately transported him to a hospital in Banda Aceh for further treatment. His elder sister who carried him to the MSF mobile team stayed with him.

MSF will drop a water & sanitation team plus a medical team in Lhok Timon again, and a second medical team in another location further down the western coast in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the mobile clinics in Banda Aceh continue. On Saturday, two teams provided 293 consultations for people left homeless of tsunami in three different sites. The top three pathologies were wounds (bruises, burns and cuts often infected after the delay in treatment), respiratory tract infection and skin diseases (a common phenomenon where people hurdle together under poor conditions). All the people that we had taken care of had experienced mental trauma.

The MSF staff in Banda Aceh consists of 16 international, incl. two volunteers from Hong Kong, and 20-25 national staff.