In the afternoon of October 11th 2008, the North Caucasus was hit by an earthquake. According to local authorities it was the most destructive in the last 30 years in the region. The epicenter of the earthquake, and most destruction and victims, were all based in Chechnya. Walls and roofs of houses collapsed in several settlements around the epicenter, killing 13 people. This occurred 40 kilometers east of the capital Grozny and 15 kilometers from the town of Gudermes. Over 100 people have been wounded and dozens were hospitalized to the nearby Gudermes hospital. Emergency medical aid to the wounded was provided by the state healthcare agencies. MSF also dispatched on the 11th of October two mental health counselors, who are an integral part of MSF’s regular programmes in the region, to the Gudermes hospital in order to help the victims and relatives cope with emotional shock. Aftershocks could still be felt three days after the earthquake, and most people in the worst affected villages of Gudermes and Kurchaloy districts are afraid to enter their houses and prefer to spend their nights outdoors. Many houses that are still standing after the earthquake, are seriously damaged, with cracks in their walls or their roofs. The hospital in the town of Kurchaloy, the main referral hospital for the population of the district was destroyed. The most affected is Mayrtup village, which is home to at least 11,000 people. Forecasts are predicting that seismic activity will continue in the North Caucasus region in the near future. "There is a feeling of disaster. People don’t remember anything like this in decades and they are scared,’ says Mairbek Abdullayev, a Chechen doctor and the MSF mobile clinics manager.

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