Situation Update: 1/16/2010
Event Updates: The death toll and number of affected people are now reported at approximately 50,000,with the expectation that it may reach 100,000. An estimated 3 million people are thought to be affected. According to UNOCHA, there are 27 urban search and rescue teams. As access slowly improves, shelter, medical assistance, security and water issues are now more fully being realized.
Access into PAP and the region is improving, allowing relief organization the ability to bring personnel and supplies into the region and into Haiti. Entry from the Dominican Republic (DR) via ground transport is occurring while others hope to land on airstrips within the country. The airport is still challenged with limited space for landing, limited fuel supplies, and ongoing challenges with air traffic control. As of 1/16 AM the PAP seaport was non-operational.
Haiti has struggled in the past with periods of insecurity and violence. Due to a multitude of stressors on individuals and communities, according to media reports, some violence is erupting around the country creating insecure environments for affected communities and relief organizations.
Because of the significant damage to buildings, there are many people in search of shelter and media reports state that many people are sleeping outside or in makeshift shelters. In some regions such as Leogane, 80-90% of buildings have been destroyed. According to the International Organization of Migration (IOM) they currently estimate 200,000 families are in need of shelter. These numbers may likely change as responders access more affected communities.
The needs of hospital are now being communicated through multiple channels. For many hospitals, the greatest needs are clinicians, water and electricity. Multiple reports describe varying degree of damages to the healthcare system and the true degree and breadth of the damage is still unknown. Field hospitals supported by organizations such as the United Nations (UN) are caring for the many injured. Many people are migrating to the Dominican Republic (DR) in search of healthcare.
Example- From anectodal reports, a boarder hospital in the Dominican Republic (DR) (supported by the MOH of DR and Harvard affiliated hospitals) is receiving a large number of injured people. As of 1/16 mid-day, the types of injuries, resources and clinical support are still yet not clearly known.
Due to displacement, lack of access to markets, and other sources of food, large numbers of peoples are in search of food and water for survival. Prior to the emergency the World Food Program was providing 2 million people (20% of the total population) with nutrition support. (see water below)
The UN cluster system is operating and coordinating many responding agencies.
Example: The WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) cluster is collaborating with the private sector and other responder to distribute 250,000 L of water through 52 distribution points. The telecommunication systems are still under repair. Ericsson is repairing the GSM and local network are under repair, but fuel is an ongoing concern.
What have we been doing?
– Staying informed.
– Collaborating with the Global Health Center at Northwestern who is collaborating with Partners in Health and other Harvard Affiliated collaborations
– Individual EM faculty have offered their clinical support for potential deployment.
– Members of our EM community are supporting organizations experienced in working in Haiti and/or in disaster response.
This is a comment from the Director of HHI, that speak to the approach we should consider adopting.
“ The disaster in Haiti and the relief efforts in Port Au Prince will be an ongoing process over many months, and years. Although the immediate medical and surgical response is primary mechanism for volunteering at present, there will be huge, diverse and critical needs over the next many months. Our greatest commitment is not to the velocity of our response, but to the persistence and creativity of our efforts over the long term.” Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH