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Wednesday October 12, 2005

Mercy team gets to work


PETALING JAYA: The first rescue team of Mercy Malaysia reached Islamabad in Pakistan at 1pm yesterday.  

The team, comprising four medical and three logistics officers, will later leave for Muzaffarabad where tens of thousands of people were hit by the massive weekend earthquake, said its chief operating officer Shareen Shariza Datuk Abdul Ghani. 

“They will set up a base at the affected area where aid is needed most. We will send more than 80 volunteers to help,'' she said. 

She said Mercy Malaysia emergency medical relief and rapid assessment teams could be expected to be in Pakistan for at least six weeks. 

“We need to have at least RM1mil in the emergency phase to purchase medical supplies, hygiene items, food and drinking water as well as relief items such as winter blankets, winterised tents and sleeping bags,” she added. 

Shareen appealed to the public to donate only cash which could be used to buy medicine and necessary items. 

She also appealed to orthopaedic surgeons, general surgeons, trauma specialists, emergency medical teams and nurses to volunteer. 

“The impact of the disaster is immense so we hope more volunteers will come,'' she said. 

In another development, Mercy Malaysia will send a second mission team to Pakistan following their first deployment two days ago.  

The eight-member team comprises three orthopaedic surgeons, a paediatric surgeon, an anaesthetist, a nurse and two logisticians – all of whom have either served in previous Mercy Malaysia's missions in crisis areas or are specialists in their fields.  

Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus, Mercy Malaysia exco member in charge of the South Asia Earthquake Relief, said the second deployment was because the situation in Pakistan was “very bad” and there were many areas to cover. 

Meanwhile, slight tremors were felt in Penang when an earthquake measuring 5.9 on Richter scale hit the west coast of Sumatra at 11.05pm yesterday. 

The epicentre of earthquake was 176km from Bandar Acheh and 866km from west of Kuala Lumpur. 

According to a Meteorolo- gical Department spokesman, tremors could have been felt on the West Coast of the peninsula.  

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