Cuba Medical Corps in Haiti Goes into Swift Action, More Cuban Medical Contingents Coming — Now This is Health Care!
January 15, 2010
acnnews 5 Cuban Medical Help Amidst Destruction and Death Raymundo Gomez (ACN Special Correspondent) PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan 15 (acn) This city, shaken last Tuesday by a strong earthquake, continues to look as if it had suffered an air bombing, judging by the significant destruction left by the natural phenomenon. The Presidential Palace and several ministry buildings, state-run facilities and homes are lying in ruins. Miraculously, 100 meters from there, the headquarters of the Central Direction and residences of the Cubans working on collaboration programs in that country, called the Anexo, remained intact and served to provide first aid to the victims. Hundreds of people with different types of injuries were treated by barely a dozen Cuban doctors who were in the facility when the 7.0-degree earthquake struck the country. Immediately afterwards, other Cuban doctors, paramedics and nurses, members of the collaboration mission working in other areas of the country, were call in for back-up. From Cuba, a group of health experts from the Henry Reeve Contingent for Emergency situations and others who were on vacation from international collaboration missions were sent to Haiti on Wednesday. Without delay, they set up to work in the Anexo and in other two facilities that were fit out as field hospitals next to the destroyed Cathedral and in the center of the city. It is hard to quantify the magnitude of the disaster suffered by the Haitian people, but several locals affirm that this earthquake is the second strongest that hit the country in more than one century. Aircrafts carrying aid from different countries, including Cuba, Venezuela and China, started to arrive at the international terminal under extreme conditions. Due to the absence of the staff in the control towers and landing and takeoff guides on the runways, the pilots have had to coordinate the landing maneuvers among themselves. Right before getting dark on Wednesday, five aircrafts carrying humanitarian aid overflew the Haitian capital at the same time trying to land. Fortunately, no air accidents have been reported so far. The sadness of the Haitian current picture is deepened by thousands of people standing, sitting of lying on the streets for two days now, using sheets or any other materials as a roof, without electricity, scarce drinkable water and some of them are lighting up fires to cook some food for children and the elderly as priority. The first rescue brigades from several Latin American, European and Asian countries have started their work in the rubble amounting across the city. However, the hope to find people alive under the debris is fading. Hundreds of unburied dead bodies remain on the sidewalks and streets, where some have been covered with sheets, pieces of paper or objects. Several tap-taps, trucks and other vehicles set aside to take away the corpses are insufficient. Along with the medical attention, which is the number-one priority, the cleaning operations and evacuation of the dead is becoming an urgent matter in Haiti. Worldnews/ycr/ef/11:45