Monday, January 18, 2010 (PAHO) - Six days after the earthquake in Haiti, a comprehensive assessment of the damages is under way but not yet completed. Health assessment teams have begun to systematically visit existing hospitals and report their findings. There are reports of damage, injuries and death on the southern peninsula, outside of Port-au-Prince, according to the Ministry of Interior and Civil Protection.
Due to widespread population displacement from the capital to outlying areas, hospitals in towns such as Gonaive and San Marc, as well as Jimaní, are overwhelmed. Emergency medical care continues to be provided outdoors at the Hospital San Francois de Sales. Haitian medical teams are being assisted by teams from Dominican Republic. In recent days, the 20-bed hospital in Jimaní saw 2000 people, and conducted 200 major surgeries. Patients who cannot be treated are being sent/airlifted to Santo Domingo. There is concern about the influx of injured and displaced persons to the Dominican Republic and to northern Haiti, mainly Saint Marc. Injured persons are seeking health services in health centers on the border towns of the Dominican Republic.
Israel has set up a mobile field hospital that is now serving 60 patients. The facility, which is fully operational, has been requested to serve as a referral hospital for severely injured patients. A Russian hospital is also operational, and new field hospitals will be arriving from Turkey, France, MSF, Indonesia and the USA. Additionally, the US Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is scheduled to arrive on the 22 January 2010.
Due to the overwhelming number of offers of field hospitals, the Health Cluster has set up a separate field hospital sub-group to deal with this issue under the coordination of Friends of Haiti. Many open spaces that had been previously identified for setting up field hospitals have already been converted into distribution sites for food or water, as helicopter landing sites, or temporary shelter sites for survivors.
To date the epidemiological reports have indicated that there is no increase in reportable diseases along the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
For more information see PAHO Situation Report #5.