International humanitarian-aid group Doctors Without Borders, best known for conducting emergency health care interventions in war-torn countries, set up a makeshift clinic for Hurricane Sandy victims in one of New York’s worst-hit communities to fill in the gaps in the government’s response. Matthew Power joined volunteer physicians for a day in the field during the group’s first operation on U.S. soil.
On May 2 last year, Nargis Cyclone destroyed everything in its path in the south of Myanmar. It left behind 140,000 dead and missing, as well as immense damage. To help those who survived cope with their grief and suffering, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have been providing mental health support to populations in the Irrawaddy delta for the past 10 months.
For several weeks, MSF helped support the Rabouteau Health Center in Gonaives. It reopened a hospital in another part of town while also organizing water distribution. MSF continues to witness difficult situations and documents the stories of some of the people still forgotten weeks after the last storm.
"At the latest estimate, there were something like 60,000 people living without a house. All the bridges have collapsed around the town, and the roads are still impassable. Inside the town itself you can drive to some places, but to get to the town from outside is impossible—even big vehicles with caterpillar tracks can't get through."
While flood waters in Gonaives have mostly receded, some parts of the devastated town remain inaccessible and many people have not had access to healthcare, clean water, and food for 15 days. An MSF team continues to support the Rabouteau Health Center in Gonaives, where more than 1,000 consultations have been carried out to date.
Lionel, a 22-year-old carpenter, was at home on September 1 with his wife, who was seven months pregnant, in the Brale area in Gonaïves, Haiti. At about 11 p.m., the water started rising. As it began to spread under the bed, they knew they had to move. Within two hours, the water was four meters above ground level.