Haiti

Haiti: Care for the Injured and Distribution of Humanitarian Aid

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Just two days after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, Handicap International restored its humanitarian aid deliveries to the destroyed neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince under the auspices of the World Food Program and the United Nations. The team also began to provide direct support for Haitians injured by the earthquake on Saturday in coordination with other emergency medical providers.

Handicap International's logistics program, which consists of a fleet of 45 off-road trucks managed in partnership with the World Food Program, resumed service 36 hours after the earthquake. On Thursday, two trucks loaded with 1,200 liters of water and four tons of high-energy biscuits supplied by the World Food Program left Gonaives for Port-au-Prince. On Friday, eight additional trucks left Gonaives laden with fuel and water treatment equipment belonging to Action Against Hunger.

Twenty of the 45 off-road trucks managed by Handicap International will now make regular deliveries of priority goods, such as water, food and medication, to Port-au-Prince with security escorts coordinated by the United Nations.

A physiotherapist and two logisticians joined the Handicap International expatriate staff of five and additional rehabilitation staff, including a physical rehabilitation doctor, two orthopedists, one occupational therapist and one physiotherapist, are scheduled to arrive next week. The team began providing direct care to the injured on Saturday. Beginning Monday, following the recruitment of a dozen Haitian health staff, this care was extended to six hospitals in four districts of Port-au-Prince and in Carrefour and Carrefour Feuille, the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the surrounding area where most of the population lives.

In addition, the Belgian office of Handicap International sent two physiotherapists to Haiti on Monday. They will work with a team from Médecins Sans Frontières Belgium for two months, providing post-operative rehabilitation care for the injured, treating multiple traumas, fractures, amputations and spinal column and neurological injuries.

A ton of equipment, including wheelchairs, artificial limbs, corsets, walking frames, crutches and walking sticks, left Istres Airport in southern France 36 hours after the earthquake struck. These emergency medical supplies were distributed to hospitals on Monday. Early Tuesday morning, a second charter aircraft carrying a ton and a half of equipment departed from Vatry Airport in Reims, France, and is scheduled to arrive in Haiti Tuesday afternoon.

To support Handicap International's work in Haiti go to the donation page of Handicap International Web site: www.handicap-international.us

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Handicap International was able to provide a rapid response to the devastating earthquake that hit the country on January 12 because it has been present in the country since 2008, during which time it has been coordinating an interagency logistics program for the transport of humanitarian aid following the four hurricanes that hit the country in the summer of 2008. The priority now is the immediate management of the injured and preventing injuries from becoming permanent disabilities. To advance that work, Handicap International released $217,657 of its own general funds on January 13, and began immediately to expand its team in Haiti by bringing in much needed specialists to treat disabling injuries.

CONTACT:

Lea Radick, Communications Officer, Handicap International U.S.
Phone: +1 (301) 891-3002, Cell: + (201) 686-7448,
E-mail: lradick@handicap-international.us

Handicap International works to improve the living conditions of people living in disabling situations in post-conflict or low-income countries around the world. Our programs reduce and address the consequences of disabling accidents and disease; clear landmines and prevent mine-related accidents through education; respond fast and effectively to natural and civil disasters in order to limit serious and permanent injuries and assist survivors with social and economic reintegration; and advocate for the universal recognition of the rights of the disabled through national planning and advocacy. Handicap International is a co-founder of the Cluster Munition Coalition and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.