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March 15, 2013

A new report by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) outlines the impact of precarious living conditions and widespread criminal and institutional violence on the health of undocumented sub-Saharan migrants trapped in Morocco on their way to Europe. According to the report, Morocco’s transformation, as a result of increasingly stringent border controls, from a country of transit to a forced destination for migrants heightens their vulnerability. The implementation of migration policies which undermine respect for human rights is having an impact on migrants’ health, which includes vulnerable groups, such as victims of sexual violence or human trafficking, who are not receiving specialized care and protection from the authorities.

Following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck China’s southwestern province of Sichuan on Monday, 2.28pm local time, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will today dispatch its first medical teams to one of the worst hit areas. According to state media, China’s most devastating earthquake in 30 years left nearly 10,000 dead and scores more are feared dead or injured.

Two days after a powerful earthquake hit Sichuan Province in southwestern China, the confirmed death toll nears 15,000 and thousands of people remain trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, according to provincial authorities.

MSF teams working in China’s quake-hit areas

A week after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake killed a reported 32,000 and left up to 4.8 million people homeless in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has now provided over 210 tonnes of relief supplies as well as medical assistance to the survivors. Reinforced by an enormous outpouring of material and financial support by private citizens and local communities throughout China, as well as offers of additional aid from abroad, the Chinese government’s response to the disaster has so far been swift and massive.

The Chinese government is now estimating that over 5 million have been left homeless by the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of the country’s Sichuan province 12 days ago. A total of 34 MSF team members are now in the affected region and have been carrying out assessments, providing surgical and basic medical care, as well as mental health services, and donating tents and medicines to the relief effort. The local, regional, and national response has been enormous, but some of the needs, especially in the area of shelter, remain.

Interview with Tony Marchant, outgoing emergency coordinator in Chengdu, Sichuan Province  What are the main needs of the people in Sichuan today? Following extensive assessments in the affected region, MSF teams have found that the response in terms of food, water, sanitation and hygiene is largely adequate in most places. Over 5 million have been left homeless by the quake, so the need for shelter is tremendous.

According to official Chinese media, the death toll from the 6.9 magnitude quake last Wednesday in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu has reached 1,706 with 12,128 people injured, 1,394 with severe injuries.

The three-person assessment team sent to the area affected by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that devastated the town of Jiegu last Wednesday has finished the initial stage of their assessment. According to the latest figures by Chinese official media, the quake in the Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu killed 2,064 people and injured 12,135 with 175 people still missing. The assessment team has confirmed that there will be no immediate MSF response as the Chinese authorities and volunteers have reacted swiftly.

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