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Haiti earthquake: ICRC aids 3,000 survivors living in desperate conditions

22-01-2010 Operational Update

While the more affluent are leaving Port-au-Prince for the countryside, hundreds of thousands are camping out in squares, sports fields and other open areas transformed into makeshift camps. Yesterday, some 3,000 camp-dwellers in Primatur received much needed aid.

  ©Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins    
Port-au-Prince. A child victim of Haiti's earthquake.    
  ©Reuters / Eliana Aponte    
Port-au-prince. A victim of Haiti's earthquake feeds her grandsons at a makeshift camp.    
  ©Reuters / Ho New    
Port-au-Prince. Dr Arthur Halvorsen (Norwegian Red Cross, centre), nurse Tove Gunleiksrud (Norwegian Red Cross, left) and midwife Aline Gagnon (Canadian Red Cross, right) treat a newborn baby at a field hospital.    
  ©Reuters / Shannon Stapleton    
Port-au-Prince. An earthquake survivor builds a shelter at a makeshift camp.    

 Distributing aid between the aftershocks  

The residents of Port-au-Prince endured several more aftershocks on Thursday, and people are currently living under very difficult conditions in more than 250 open areas. These areas include Primatur, where some 3,000 people are living in makeshift shelters. On Thursday evening, an ICRC team supported by thirteen volunteers from the Haitian Red Cross and a number of people living in the camp distributed blankets, soap and jerrycans for storing drinking water. They also handed out plastic sheeting with which families could set up temporary shelters and regain some privacy in a crowded camp.

" Things are tough for the people here. We will do our utmost to deliver additional aid in the coming days, " said ICRC nutritionist Ana Gerlin Hernández.

The ICRC is working closely with the Haitian National Red Cross Society, and the international Red Cross and Red Crescent relief effort is being coordinated and led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. For more details on the overall Red Cross Red Crescent response to the earthquake, please visit the Federation website at www.ifrc.org.  

 Medical supplies for field hospitals  

The ICRC provided additional medical supplies on Thursday to a 70-bed field hospital from the Norwegian and Canadian Red Cross a nd the Israeli National Society, the Magen David Adom. Doctors there have been treating over 80 seriously-injured people a day and had run out of supplies. The ICRC also delivered much-needed supplies to a clinic in the Carrefour neighbourhood run by Doctors without Borders (Netherlands).

The Haitian Red Cross, supported by the ICRC, opened a new first-aid post in the Carrefour sports complex, where thousands of people have gathered. Red Cross volunteers treated 23 casualties in the first few hours. Meanwhile, doctors from the Finnish Red Cross started work at another new first-aid post in Carrefour Feuille.

For the second time in a week, the ICRC delivered first-aid supplies to the Haitian Red Cross first-aid post in Cité Soleil, a shantytown with a population of around 200,000 where very few other humanitarian organizations have been active so far.

In the Bel Air area of Port-au-Prince, an ICRC health team evaluated the needs of a hospice for the elderly, which had suffered heavy earthquake damage. People there need first aid, and there are neither latrines nor water. Owing to the dire conditions at the hospice, the ICRC intends to support the facility for the next few days.

ICRC forensic specialists provided body bags to the morgue of the Hôpital Universitaire de l'État d'Haïti (HUEH), one of Port-au-Prince’s two referral hospitals.


Restoring family links  

Teams helping people to re-establish contact with their relatives are operating in four camps and on Thursday facilitated almost 300 phone calls between residents in Port-au-Prince and relatives living abroad. Over the past three days, the service has allowed almost 900 people to make such calls. The joint ICRC/Haitian Red Cross teams also registered the names of 193 people eager to let their loved ones know that they were alive and well on the ICRC family links website (www.icrc.org/familylinks).  

As of Friday, the family links site for Haiti contained over 24,100 names. The site has been revamped since the start of the emergency and is now accessible in four languages including Creole. Over 1,900 of the names are people reporting that they are alive and safe, and by Friday the ICRC had been able to remove 564 names because the people concerned had been traced.

For further information, please contact:
Simon Schorno, ICRC Port-au-Prince, mobile: +509 3456 3392 or +41 79 251 9302,  
satellite tel: +88 165 146 6175
Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 32 24

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