Port-au-Prince – On Tuesday 12 December, a group of armed men stopped a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) ambulance as it was leaving the MSF Emergency Centre in Turgeau, a neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, taking a patient out by force and killing him. MSF is suspending all activities in the Emergency Centre indefinitely.
On Tuesday at 4:00 p.m, a severely wounded man was admitted to our Turgeau Emergency Centre, close to the centre of Port-au-Prince. The patient was in a critical condition, and the medical team decided to transfer him to another hospital where he could receive specialised care.
Around 5:30 p.m., a convoy of two ambulances left the Emergency Centre, for two patient transfers. A few metres outside the Centre however, a dozen armed individuals appeared from a backstreet and blocked the convoy. They beat on the hood of the ambulance and fired shots in the air. They looked inside the first ambulance and ordered the second ambulance to return to the Emergency Centre. They took the patient out of the first ambulance by force. They then beat him and shot him several times. When he was dead, they fled the scene.
We can’t accept that our ambulances are attacked, and our patients are beaten and killed. To carry out our work, our medical facilities, our staff, and our patients must be respected.Benoît Vasseur, MSF Head of Mission in Haiti
“We need a minimum of safety to carry out our medical mission. We can’t work if our medical mission is threatened by violence,” says Benoît Vasseur, MSF’s Head of Mission in Haiti. “MSF is one of the very few international organisations delivering medical care in the capital.”
“We can’t accept that our ambulances are attacked, and our patients are beaten and killed,” says Vasseur. “To carry out our work, our medical facilities, our staff, and our patients must be respected.”
“We can see the Haitians are desperate and furious. They are subjected to terrible cruelties on a daily basis,” continues Vasseur. “We are direct witnesses of it: rape, torture, murder attempts. All our medical services are here to provide care to people in this midst of this violence.”
MSF is suspending indefinitely all of our activities in our Turgeau Emergency Centre. We will undertake an analysis of the attack, and re-evaluate the risk for our staff and patients.
MSF continues to offer free, high-quality healthcare in our other facilities: our hospital in Cité Soleil, our hospital in Tabarre which provides care for trauma and burns, and a clinic for vicitms and survivors of sexual violence in Delmas 33, Pran Men’m . Our mobile clinics continue to work in different areas of the city and in camps for displaced people. In the south of the country, our maternity clinic in Port-à-Piment also remains open.