copyright msf caption © Muhamad Suryandi/MSF
09 Jan 19 11 Jan 19

Tsunami relief: Doctors Without Borders responds to disaster in Indonesia

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing relief to those affected by the tsunami in Indonesia. MSF has mobilized three teams in Pandeglang district, one of the areas most severely hit by the tsumami following an eruption of Anak Krakatoa volcano on December 22, 2018. 

Updated: January 9, 2018

On January 5, 2019, the Indonesian government officially declared the end of the tsunami emergency response in Banten Province, which resulted to some humanitarian actors withdrawing their presence and resources from the Labuan and Carita sub-districts. However, MSF will continue its medical interventions in the tsunami affected areas.

“MSF will be staying in Banten for a longer term as we have been running an adolescent health project in the area since early February 2018. We have offered to provide follow-up medical care to the victims and survivors of the tsunami and help in the recovery phase,” said Daniel von Rège, the MSF Head of Mission in Indonesia.

As of January 7, MSF had treated 106 patients in the health centers of Labuan and Carita, and our mobile clinics had reached 677 patients. 

Moving forward, MSF is also looking at extending its medical support to the health centres in the villages and hamlets during the recovery/transition phase.

Today, January 9, MSF distributed hygiene kits to 500 households of internally displaced peoples (IDPs) living in IDP sites/hosting communities with low hygiene conditions.

Updated: December 31, 2018

With MSF’s support, the Labuan and Carita health centres continue their medical services. The MSF medical team has been providing case management, infection prevention and hygiene management, inventory and other needs assessments in the health centres. This has been greatly valued support and important to the continuation of care for patients. Plus, the process of referring the patients have also been going well, with MSF having contacts with the available ambulances in the sub-districts.

Meanwhile, MSF’s mobile clinics have reached 15 kampongs (villages) in Labuan and Carita sub-districts, in Pandeglang. In these areas, patients who did not have access to the health centres were treated, and various services such as wound care, pregnancy care and child deliveries, treatment of chronic diseases and chronic infection, etc. have been provided. Psychological first aid  and psychosocial support have also been given, however more mental health support will be rolled out in the next few days. Assessments have also been made to properly support the medical needs of the internally displaced peoples, and of the local health posts and health personnel, such as midwives. MSF is also finding staff to conduct case follow-ups and community engagements.

As of December 31, MSF has conducted  326 medical consultations, with 223 female patients and 103 male patients. The team has recorded 45 patients under five years old, 278 are above five years old, and two have not been registered. The MSF emergency response team has also treated 16 pregnant mothers, and conducted medical follow-ups on 15 patients. The most common medical cases encountered were upper respiratory tract infections, myalgia, cephalgia and accidental trauma.

Updated: December 26, 2018

In Labuan, MSF has a medical team stationed in the health centre to support the delivery of medical services to outpatients. To date, the Labuan Health Center has admitted 74 wounded and discharged 66 patients. A total of eight patients have been referred to the hospital, and nine bodies have been received. There are still many people currently visiting the centre to seek treatment despite power cuts in the area.

In Carita, MSF has been unable to reach the centre today, December 26, due to the flooding caused by heavy rains that started in the evening of December 25. Medical coordination with the health centre staff is being conducted via phone calls. As of December 25, the Carita Health Center admitted 99 injured patients who were immediately released after treatment. The centre has also received 65 bodies.

Aside from supporting the health centres, MSF has been conducting a mobile clinic from the third day after the tsunami hit the area. "We visited the survivors who have evacuated to higher ground by foot. Some of them have been injured as they were either trying to escape the rising water or as they were hit by rubble. We saw many injured people in the remote communities who have not received any treatment. So, we cleaned and dressed their wounds. Afterwards, we will conduct follow-up visits to check on their condition and make sure that they heal properly,” said Dina Afriyanti, an MSF midwife.

Sulaiman Warawu, the MSF Health Promoter, emphasized, “As MSF has been here in Banten since early this year for the adolescent health project, this area feels like home. So, we have committed to support the health centres and the people affected. We will continue conducting the mobile clinic and will also do follow-ups to ensure the full recovery of the patients.”

According to the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) as of December 25, 14:00 hrs local time, a total of 16,082 people have been displaced in the five districts affected by the tsunami – Pandeglang and Serang in Banten Province, and Lampung Selatan, Tanggamus and Pesawaran in Lampung Province. There are now 429 deaths; 1,485 persons injured; and 154 persons missing. 

Daniel von Rège, MSF head of mission in Indonesia, provided the following update on December 23:

“Since early 2018, MSF has had an adolescent health project in Indonesia supporting the Ministry of Health in Labuan and Carita in Pandeglang district, one of the areas most severely hit by the tsunami following an eruption of Anak Krakatoa volcano late on the evening of December 22, 2018.

"The MSF teams in Pandeglang responded to the influx of patients on the morning of December 23 as both injured people and [dead] bodies were brought in to the health centers. With support from the MSF country coordination team, which arrived a few hours later, MSF liaised with the health center teams, prioritizing immediate needs.

"As the most severe cases were being referred to bigger hospitals in the area and the deceased were being managed by local authorities, MSF supported the exhausted health workers by ensuring proper case management of injured people, infection control and hygiene standards, as well as material support. During the course of the day, more injured people and dead bodies arrived which needed immediate attention—and we expect this to continue over the next few days.

"MSF has a permanent presence in Pandeglang district, and we will continue to support the national efforts as long as needed.”

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