January 14, 2010, Los Angeles, Calif. – International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team is in Port-au-Prince assisting survivors of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti Tuesday. The team is providing medical care outside the general hospital near the Presidential Palace where hundreds of people have congregated for help.
“People are afraid to go indoors because of aftershocks, so most of the care is being provided outside,” says Margaret Aguirre, Director of Global Communications for International Medical Corps. “We are working with the few Haitian health workers that are here. The goal is to provide triage and basic treatment with the limited staffing and supplies that we have.”
“Most patients that we have seen are suffering from broken bones, but some are in more serious condition and there is no hospital to refer them to. Medical supplies, such as IVs, pain medicines, and bandages, are extremely limited,” continued Aguirre.
Other members of the Emergency Response Team are conducting a rapid needs assessment and visiting hospitals around the city to explore their condition. In addition to emergency medical care, survivors of the earthquake are likely to be in immediate need of food and water, as well as non-food items like blankets, tents, stoves, and water purification equipment. Public health is a major concern as well. International Medical Corps will also focus on providing emergency shelter and other essential items in its relief effort.
“International Medical Corps is prepared to respond to all levels of medical assistance depending on what the most pressing needs are,” says Dina Prior, the Team Leader for the response. “Emergency health care will be our primary focus, both in the form of hands-on care and medical supplies and drugs.”