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Haiti bulletin – 26 February 2004

26-02-2004 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

 Assisting hospitals  

    

Following armed incursions into the premises of Canapé-Vert Hospital in Port-au-Prince, and in preparation for a possible larger influx of wounded, the ICRC is doing its utmost to ensure that the hospital is protected. The building is now marked with the red cross protective emblem and the Haitian authorities have pledged to take steps aimed at improving security within the hospital premises.

Messages have been broadcast on the main radio stations and television channels urging respect for Canapé-Vert Hospital staff and facilities. (Listen to the radio spots .)

Since the town of Cap-Haitien was taken by the insurgents, four ICRC delegates have been able to travel there over land and by air. On 24 February two delegates based in Gonaives were authorized to go there by road. Once in Cap-Haitien, they prepared for the arrival of a small plane, which the ICRC had chartered the same day in Port-au-Prince, with on board two more ICRC delegates, one of them a doctor, and emergency supplies for the Haitian Red Cross in Cap-Haitien. On 25 February an ICRC convoy left Port-au-Prince for Gonaives and Cap-Haitien. It was transporting an ICRC doctor and protection delegate, a water engineer from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and material for medical facilities in Saint Marc and Gonaives provided by the World Health Organization. The convoy reached its destination safely.

 Medical activities  

    

A third operating theatre is being set up at Canapé-Vert Hospital, which is also being equipped with more beds. In the coming days, an ICRC team, including a surgeon, will be able to work with hospital staff to treat wounded persons, who will be cared for free of charge. If necessary, the capacity of the hospital (currently 42 beds) can be tripled rapidly.

The ICRC also plans to distribute first-aid material to other hospitals in Port-au-Prince.

An ICRC doctor is currently based at the hospital in Cap-Haitien, where Haitian and Cuban doctors are using the surgical material provided two weeks ago by the ICRC to treat people wounded in the recent clashes.

Surgical kits (1.3 tonnes of surgical instruments and medicines) have already been pre-positioned at Canapé-Vert Hospital in Port-au-Prince and the hospitals in Gonaives and Jacmel. Each kit contains enough material to treat 100 wounded people.

 Detention  

    

ICRC delegates regularly visit the Prison Civile (former National Prison) and the four police stations in Port-au-Prince. During the visits, they make sure that the physical and mental integrity of the detainees is being respected at all stages of their incarceration.

 Cooperation  

    

In the activities it is carrying out in dir ect response to the armed violence, the ICRC is working closely with the Haitian Red Cross. First-aid kits supplied by the International Federation have been sent to the regional committees in Gonaives and Cap Haïtien.

The joint ICRC/National Society reinforcement mission sent to Gonaives on 25 February included a water and sanitation engineer from the International Federation.

The ICRC is supervising the strengthening of the Haitian Red Cross Society’s ambulance service and providing spare parts for the vehicles.

The Haitian Red Cross has 13 regional committees and 105 local committees. It has around 3,500 qualified first-aiders.

 ICRC presence  

    

The ICRC delegation in Haiti currently comprises 15 expatriates and 14 national employees.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Simon Pluess, ICRC Port-au-Prince, tel. ++ 509 256 78 24  

 Adolfo Beteta, ICRC Mexico, tel. ++ 5255 52 55 43 55  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++ 41 22 730 24 58 or ++ 41 79 217 32 24