Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti - Morning Report for Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Please donate to the HAS Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund by clicking HERE.

The following is the report we received this morning from Haiti:

The halls are filled with people who have come in overnight; all nurses and residents were called in to handle a large number of new patients - traumatic injuries, mostly. Hard to get a social history, but several reports of collapses of multi-story buildings in Petite Riviere.

The influx has been handled professionally by the all-Haitian medical staff and nurses - although all available gurneys and benches are occupied, patients are triaged and staged along the corridor to the operating suite and lab/radiology. Families and friends wait anxiously outside, while the necessary care is provided calmly and quietly.

Among the most serious impacts has been the loss of communications as the cell phone towers collapsed; everyone in this area has family in Port-au-Prince, with no contact. Several people left last night for PauP, taking public transport as far as possible, and then prepared to walk several miles into town to check on family members and to report back to anxious relatives.

Out here in the valley, we experienced only minor tremors, but people poured out of their houses onto the roads. As I write this, I am feeling a very small aftershock. Major cell towers are out and only Haitel has a signal. Only a few calls are getting through to PauP, where the radio says that many large buildings have been affected. Our twelve new residents and all physicians all have families in PauP, but can't find out how they are.

You may be getting better news from CNN or Fox than we are; we will continue to monitor as best we can, but we are afraid that the daylight will bring sad information from Port au Prince. Earthquakes are rare here - only the older people realized what was going on. Since the hospital has lights and electric current, the front is crowded with people listening to radios and sharing rumors.

Unfortunately, Haiti has a long experience with natural disasters, including floods, hurricanes and mudslides; each one reinforces our awareness of the fragility of the formal social service system, and the strength of the informal systems, where communities and families come together to care for victims and to ensure that the most seriously injured come to HAS and other facilities.

We are grateful for the many messages of support; time and demands don't allow for personal answers, but be assured of our appreciation. As is usual in disasters, we have sufficient doctors and nurses, a full stock of medications for the most part, and we are fortunate to have not lost power or water. We appreciate your concern, and will continue to offer updates as time allows.

Ian Rawson and the HAS staff

Please donate to the HAS Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund by clicking HERE.

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