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Health Center Opened in Gonaives, Haiti
September 23, 2004
Port au Prince/New York, September 23, 2004 - In response to the severe flooding that has hit the Haitian city of Gonaives, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has begun treating people at a newly opened health center in Raboteau, a slum in the western part of the city.
"The center existed before the disaster but was not operational at all," said Silvien Auerbach, MSF Head of Mission in Haiti. "Thanks to people in the community who helped us remove the mud and clean the building, it can now be used for consultations. Our next priority will be to address water and sanitation needs."
Two former operating rooms will be used for general consultations, another room for psychological support, and one room for deliveries. Emergency kits with enough materials to treat 10,000 people have been transported to the center by road yesterday. The MSF team of four (one doctor, one nurse, and two logisticians) has started to provide health services.
So far more than 1,000 people have been reported dead, according to local and UN officials, with the figure expected to rise.
"Tens of thousands of people are homeless in Gonaives and need access to clean water and food, shelter, and health care," said Donatella Massai, MSF Director of Operations in Brussels. "People need jerry cans and kitchen kits so they can store drinking water and prepare food. Soap and clothes are also badly needed. Other humanitarian organizations are on the spot and should contribute to meeting these needs as quickly as possible".
In addition to providing health care and water and sanitation services, MSF will continue to evaluate the risks of malaria and waterborne-disease epidemics. The MSF emergency team is being reinforced with additional international staff. Another nurse and a water and sanitation specialist are expected to arrive tonight in Port-au-Prince, while a second doctor and one psychologist should arrive on Saturday.