Haiti: A.M.I. boosts its aid to earthquake victims

The earthquake that hit Haiti Tuesday, January 12 severely affected Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. Public buildings and homes were destroyed, many collapsing on their occupants. Casualties are estimated to be in the tens of thousands.

Already present in Port-au-Prince since 2004 for a program for street children, an AMI team, composed of four expatriates and sixty-six Haitians, mobilized immediately. While their colleagues in Haiti were helping their families, friends and neighbors, the expatriate team including a doctor, began to rescue victims.

36 hours after the disaster, Jacques Bérès, surgeon and former president of AMI, left Paris and arrived to Port-au-Prince today at noon (local time). A few hours later, a logistics manager and an emergency anesthesiologist will depart to strengthen our team.

The situation is especially difficult on the field as health facilities are destroyed and access to water is non-existent. Therefore, the objective is to provide emergency care to the most serious injuries and survivors extracted from the rubble.

While the AMI Head of Mission in Haiti has participated in the first meetings to coordinate the emergency humanitarian actions, 30 cubic meters of emergency medical supplies have been dispatched to Port-au-Prince. These supplies will allow AMI to establish, in the course of next week, a mobile clinic designed to crisscross accessible areas of the Martissant neighborhood, home to 100,000 people. This should allow the basic health needs of its residents to be met during the weeks ahead.

A coordinator for the emergency program and a nurse were recruited this week. Other departures (nurse, doctor, administrator and logistician) are scheduled. This will be reinforced by logistics experts from the NGO Premiere Urgence, which will ensure the distribution of shelter (tarpaulins, blankets), hygiene kits and food, as a complement to emergency medical care.

Aide Médicale Internationale has been present in Haiti since 1984, training medical personnel and supporting health structures on Turtle Island and supporting the creation of 50 health posts in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health and Population under the Government Action Plan in the town of Saint-Michel de l'Attalaye from 2000 to 2002. Since late 2003 and early 2004, A.M.I. has implemented a program of medical and psychosocial support to 1,500 children and youth from the streets of Port-au-Prince and beginning in early 2010, A.M.I. has implemented a program of free obstetric care.