“Please save my baby!” Jeudy Francia, a woman in her 20s, shrieked outside the St.-Esprit Hospital in the city on Wednesday. Her child, a girl about 4 years old, writhed in pain in the hospital’s chaotic courtyard, near where a handful of bodies lay under white blankets. “There is no one, nothing, no medicines, no explanations for why my daughter is going to die.”
That gut-wrenching scene is from this morning’s New York Times, one snipet among thousands demonstrating the urgent desperation facing residents of Haiti’s capital city in the wake of Tuesday’s earthquake. Tens of thousands dead. Three million people affected. Those are initial estimates of the terrible damage wrought by the 7.0 quake.
What can you do? The U.S. Agency for International Development, with its newly confirmed chief, is heading up the US response. Two leading nonprofit medical groups are also deeply involved in the relief effort—Partners in Health and Doctors without Borders. Both are seeking immediate financial help.
Here’s some info from each group about what they are doing and how you can help.
From Partners in Health:
“We have already begun to implement a two-part strategy to address the immediate need for emergency medical care in Port-au-Prince. First, we are organizing the logistics to get the medical staff and supplies needed for setting up field hospital sites in Port-au-Prince where we can triage patients, provide emergency care, and send those who need surgery or more complex treatment to our functioning hospitals and surgical facilities. To do this, we are creating a supply chain through the Dominican Republic. Second, we are ensuring that our facilities in the Central Plateau are ready to serve the flow of patients from Port-au-Prince. Operating and procedure rooms are staffed, supplied, and equipped for surgeries and we have converted a church in Cange into a large triage area. Already our sites in Cange and Hinche are reporting a steady flow of people coming with medical needs from the capital city. In the days that come we will need to make sure our pharmacies and supplies stay stocked and our staff continue to be able to respond.”
From Doctors without Borders:
“There are hundreds of thousands of people who are sleeping in the streets because they are homeless,” MSF coordinator, Hans van Dillen, said. “We see open fractures, head injuries. The problem is that we cannot forward people to proper surgery at this stage.” First reports are now emerging from MSF’s teams who were already working on medical projects Haiti when an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale struck the country early January 12. MSF staff immediately started treating hundreds of people injured and have been setting up clinics in tents to replace their own damaged medical facilities.