Haiti bulletin – 20 February 2004
20-02-2004 Operational Update
Latest report on ICRC activities in the field
Haiti: New humanitarian convoy reaches Gonaives and St Marc
A joint ICRC and Haitian Red Cross convoy safely reached St Marc and Gonaives yesterday evening with medical supplies including dressings provided by the International Federation. This was the second such convoy to leave the capital, Port-au-Prince, this week. Both convoys had security guarantees from the government and opposition forces.
The ICRC doctor and surgeon who went to Gonaives in the earlier convoy have in the meantime returned to the capital with a badly wounded patient who could not be operated on locally. The man was transferred to Canapé-Vert hospital, where he was operated on by the ICRC surgeon yesterday morning.
The return of Cuban staff to the hospital in Gonaives and the temporary presence of ICRC doctors there have encouraged some 20 wounded people to go back to the hospital for treatment. The hospital had recently been abandoned following a number of serious incidents. The ICRC delegation has now established excellent working relations with the Cuban staff, who have been willing to come to the hospital even in the middle of the night to deal with emergencies. A surgical kit was also sent to the hospital in Jacmel this morning following an assessment of needs earlier this week.
On 14 February the ICRC, WHO and the medical faculty in Port-au-Prince held a seminar in the capital to prepare 110 doctors from the public and private se ctors to deal with the admission of seriously injured patients to emergency rooms.
With the government’s authorization, delegates have recently visited people detained as a result of the current troubles in two police stations in Port-au-Prince. As part of ongoing detention-related activities, they have also visited Fort National Prison and the Prison Civile in the capital, as well as the Prison Civile in Pétion-Ville. The aim of these visits is to monitor the physical and mental condition of the detainees.
Restoring family links
For the time being, the Haitian Red Cross is unable to restore contact between separated family members.
A working group on humanitarian action has been set up by the health ministry to ensure a coordinated response to medical needs. It includes UN agencies, donor representatives and the ICRC.
The ICRC has been working very closely with the Haitian Red Cross and building up the society’s capacity to respond to the current crisis. Mechanisms have also been put in place to ensure coordination with other Red Cross/Red Crescent organizations in Haiti, namely the International Federation and the French and Netherlands Red Cross societies.
The ICRC delegation in Port-au-Prince currently comprises eight expatriates and 10 national employees.
For further information, please contact:
Simon Pluess, ICRC Port-au-Prince, tel. ++ 509 256 78 24
Adolfo Beteta, ICRC Mexico City, tel. ++ 5255 52 55 43 55
Ian Piper, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++ 41 22 730 20 63 or ++41 79 203 43 38