January 15, 2010

Stefano Zannini, head of mission for Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Haiti, spoke at a press teleconference about MSF's activities in Haiti following the January 12 earthquake. Here are clips from the January 15 teleconference:

"What I can see at the moment in Port au Prince is plenty of people looking basically for medical care, food, and shelter. These are the most important things people are looking for at the moment."  —Stefano Zannini

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"Streets are crowded (with) persons looking for help and trying to find their families or their friends. I can see thousands of them walking in the streets, asking for health, asking for everything." —Stefano Zannini

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"The few hospitals not collapsed during the quake are crowded (with) patients and with people looking for something. The patients rescued during the last hours are transported by car, by motorbikes, by pickups, even by doors used like stretchers." —Stefano Zannini

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 "Most of them (most frequent injuries) are open fractures. Open fractures needing, obviously, immediate surgical intervention. In some of our centers, we saw also burned people in very, very bad condition. But we have some deliveries as well. I want to share with you the fact that our first surgical activities last night was a complicated delivery, and I am very proud to share with you that we were able to save both the lives of the baby and the mother." —Stefano Zannini

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"The three most important needs we are identifying now is medical care and basically surgical activity, food, and drinking water." —Stefano Zannini

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"In terms of the supplies coming, Médecins Sans Frontières has some cargo flights. Some are going to be setting up through Santo Domingo. And we have two full charters that ought to be arriving sometime this afternoon or rather Saturday morning, filled with 260 cubic meters of supplies. So this is the beginning of the materials that are coming in. We have 40 tons of materials, for example, water and sanitation medical supplies, materials for surgery, that are also on the way." —Avril Benoit, Director of Communications, MSF-Canada, moderator

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One additional note: Stefano Zannini said that in the immediate aftermath of the quake, staff was working 20 to 24 hours without stopping. Now that they have more people, they are trying to make sure everyone gets some rest, though services remain available day and night.

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