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Vittnesmål från Olivier Bernard, ordförande MdM Frankrike (engelska)

Nyhet   •   Jan 27, 2010 17:08 CET

…”With Ernesto, long term project coordinator and Carole Dromer, international operations director, we meet Karel De Gucht, european humanitarian aid Commissioner and Peter Zangl, general director. After visiting the hospital we share the same concerns about the coming rains and the humanitarian and health risks faced by thousands of homeless people if the rains begin before the beginning of the stabilization and sanitation of these areas of precarious life. The visit I did yesterday with our mobile clinics teams confirmed this analysis: extreme lack of privacy, lack of toilets, no access to water, all the conditions are gathered for outbreaks of diarrhea to occur among infants if it rains. We must prepare ourselves for that.

The driver explains that the songs that we heard the night before were prayers intended to delay the arrival of rain. In my trip back home, I take to Didier’s the little girl we took care of yesterday; the plaster is dry now, she looks radiant with joy and spends her time cleaning and dressing her doll; her mother is exhausted after eight days of anxiety and worry. When we arrive home, I put her in a bed in the garden, the same beds where the team sleeps at night, also in the garden because of the fear of further destructive earth tremors. When I get back, the entire Haitian MdM team is meeting with Carole, Karen, the medical coordinator, Juan, the psychologist, who, since his arrival, put himself available and listened to our long-term team. They are the first ones to help us identify needs, locate places for our mobile clinics and especially to define the modalities of our intervention. First, of course, is primary health care, access to water and food, but also a real mental health care after such a trauma, human loss…mourning is difficult because of the number of people still missing…

…Odi is our programme’s administrator in the Grande Anse region and especially the town of Jérémie, in the southwest of the island. He’s been working with MdM in Haiti for 19 years. This is the first time he comes back to Port au Prince, and as he says, even if the pictures and images on television speak for themselves, being so close to it is a real test. He also brings us news from the region of which little has been said, it is true, as it is far from the earthquake’s epicentre. Nine people died and many health centres were affected by the tremors. MdM teams were immediately mobilised and because of the lack of drug supplies at the capital, Odi and his colleagues have made available their stocks of drugs to ensure access to immediate care. The other news is the confirmation that large groups of the population are moving and that about 20 000 people have arrived in the region of Jérémie from Port au Prince. In the coming weeks we will therefore focus on the nutritional state of children because the combination of the population growth and the food supply problems may have a quick effect on vulnerable people and especially on young children."

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