Haiti: Assessing Medical Needs in the Wake of Hurricane Matthew

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which struck Haiti on October 4, four Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are assessing the needs at medical facilities and affected communities in five departments of the country: Grande Anse, Sud, Nippes, Artibonite, and Nord-Ouest.

Access to the affected areas is difficult and the full scale and nature of the needs have yet to be determined. Haitian officials report a death toll in the hundreds that continues to rise. The risk of cholera is very high in affected areas.

MSF teams traveled by helicopter and by road to the Sud Department and observed extensive destruction of houses and communities along the coast between Tiburon and Port-à-Piment.

People are beginning to arrive at local hospitals, many with injuries to their feet and legs that are starting to become infected. An MSF team provided first aid to wounded hurricane survivors and donated medical supplies to treat wounds at the General Hospital of Les Cayes. The hospital is expecting to see a rise in the number of patients in the coming days.

After viewing the destruction from the air in Grande Anse Department, an MSF team is seeking to reach coastal areas this morning, if road access is possible.

An MSF team reached Nippes Department last evening to begin assessing the needs, providing basic medical care and responding to cholera as needed.

Another MSF team is currently traveling by road in the Artibonite and Nord-Ouest departments to assess existing health facilities, with a focus on needs related to water, sanitation, and displacement.

MSF currently has 26 staff members deployed in assessment teams in Haiti. In addition, MSF runs multiple projects in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area: the burns unit in Drouillard Hospital, the Martissant 25 emergency center, the Nap Kenbe Emergency Surgical Hospital, the Centre de Référence des Urgences en Obstétrique (CRUO), the Pran Men'm clinic for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and the Figaro cholera treatment center that can be operational in a few hours. MSF also supports the Diquini center for cholera patients.