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Haiti: Martissant residents gain medical evacuation service

30-07-2008 News Release 08/136

Port-au-Prince (ICRC) – The Haitian National Red Cross Society, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is now able to offer a medical evacuation service to residents of Martissant, a neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, and the surrounding districts.

“Although armed violence is on the decline, it continues to pose a threat to Martissant residents, who are living in conditions that are particularly worrying from a humanitarian point of view,” explained Rob Drouen, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Haiti. Dr Michaèle Amédée Gédéon, president of the National Society, added, “Setting up this free service is just one of the activities that the Haitian Red Cross has carried out to improve community health in the area. "

The service depends on a network of 80 Haitian Red Cross volunteer first-aiders from all over the Martissant area. They have been specially trained to work in emergency situations, meaning that they can provide the sick and wounded with first aid and, if necessary, evacuate them to the Médecins Sans Frontières clinic in Martissant. In addition, a National Society first-aid post and ambulance, in operation since 1 July in the Bas-Delouis area, serve all districts and make it easier for residents to obtain medical care.

The ICRC, in its capacity as a neutral organization, works tirelessly to ensure that medical services and the red cross emblem are respected by maintaining a dialogue with all weapon bearers, the State authorities and the civilian population. This is essential if the service is to keep running.

The ICRC has been providing support for two first-aid posts and Haitian Red Cross volunteers in Cité-Soleil since 2004. Since then, almost 2,000 sick and wounded people have been evacuated to appropriate medical facilities.

The ICRC has been working in Haiti without interruption since 1994. In cooperation with the Haitian Red Cross, the organization endeavours to protect and assist those living in areas affected by violence.

  For further information, please contact:
  Rob Drouen, ICRC Port-au-Prince, tel: +509 34 56 34 00
  Jean Jacob Charles, ICRC Port-au-Prince, tel: +509 34 58 41 86
  Périclès Jean-Baptiste, Haitian National Red Cross Society, tel: +509 37 71 26 47