Situation at Haiti floods still difficult

ALT Olga Ruiz/MSF

Over 15 days after the floods that hit the city of Gonaives, Haiti, the situation is dramatic for tens of thousand people. Large parts of the city are still under water and mud. Houses are destroyed and the refugee centers are filled with people who have not received any aid so far.

The daily priorities for the population are removing the mud, finding food
or drinking water, and cleaning the main road axes of the city. Dead bodies are
being removed by municipal staff.

"The people in charge of picking up all these bodies in the mud are physically affected," said Ilse Casteels, MSF psychologist in Gonaives. "They have nausea, heart and skin problems. And like the rest of population, they experienced a severe mental trauma."

Besides mental health issues, most medical problems of the population are related to cut wounds and infections due to mud and stagnated water.

The MSF health center located in Raboteau, in the west of the city, is now providing medical care at a daily rate of 500 patients. Last Friday, up to 700 people came to the MSF health center for consultation.

Five doctors, five nurses and three psychologists are working in the medical team, and six Cuban medical specialists are working under MSF supervision.

The delivery room is operational and four deliveries were performed last week.

Some patients are coming from other parts of the city.

"Even if Raboteau was far away, I †had to come up to here because I was feeling really bad", said a †28 †year old MSF patient suffering from a skin disease. "At the refugee center where I am staying now, there is no doctor, no aid whatsoever".

According to Silvien Auerbach, MSF Head of Mission in Haiti, other medical organisations are operationnal in the city itself.

"Although this does not cover all the medical needs, the situation is improving," said Auerbaach. "But we feel that there is still a lot to be done for the population living outside the city."