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Indonesia: MSF responds to Sunda Strait tsunami

09 Jan 2019

Teams from Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are providing medical care to people affected by Saturday night’s tsunami in Sunda Strait, Indonesia. Our teams were already working in this region before it was severely hit by a tsunami following the eruption of Anak Karakatoa volcano on the late evening of 22 December, 2018.

Updated 09/01/2019

On 05 January 2019, the Indonesian government has officially declared the end of the tsunami emergency response in Banten Province which resulted in 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 7 January 2019, MSF has treated 106 patients in the health centres of Labuan and Carita. Our mobile clinics have reached 677 patients. In total, we have treated 783 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.

On 09 January, MSF distributed hygiene kits to 500 households of internally displaced peoples (IDPs) living in IDP sites/hosting communities with low hygiene conditions. There were 500 packages of hygiene kits consisting of a bucket, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, towel, sanitary napkin, detergent, dish soap, trash bag, underwear for male and female.

Updated 27/12/2018

MSF has mobilised three teams in Pandeglang district: one supporting the Carita Health Centre, one supporting the Labuan Health Centre and a mobile team which visits communities to treat injured patients who could not reach hospitals/health centres. MSF teams are actively involved in case management, with severe cases being referred to area hospitals. MSF’s medical team is supporting medical care in Labuan Health Centre where 74 wounded patients have been admitted and 66 discharged. A total of eight patients have been referred to the hospital in Labuan, and nine bodies have been received. There are still many people visiting the centre to seek treatment despite power cuts in the area. 

MSF was unable to reach the centre in Carita yesterday (26 December) due to flooding caused by heavy rains that started in the evening of 25 December. Nonetheless, MSF teams continue to coordinate with health centre staff via phone calls. As of 25 December, the Carita Health Centre had admitted 99 injured patients who have all now been released after treatment. The centre also received 65 bodies.

In addition to supporting the health centres, MSF has been conducting regular mobile clinics in 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,” said Dina Afriyanti, an MSF midwife.

“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.” 

“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.” 

Since early 2018, MSF has run an adolescent health project in Pandeglang district, supporting the Ministry of Health.

Sulaiman Warawu, the MSF Health Promoter, said, “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 25 December, 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. A total of 882 houses have been damaged.

Updated from 23/12/2018

With support from the MSF country coordination team which arrived a few hours later, MSF liaised with the health centre teams, prioritising immediate needs. The most severe patients are being referred to bigger hospitals in the area and the deceased are being managed by local authorities. Our teams are supporting the exhausted health workers in health centres by ensuring proper case management, 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.