Port-au-Prince, March 11, 2010 – Two staff members of the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), abducted on March 5 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, were safely released today.
“We are immensely relieved,” said Jean-Sebastien Matte, head of mission for MSF in Haiti. “Our colleagues are out, are safe and are in good health. We share in the joy of their relatives and friends who have been eagerly awaiting such good news over the past five days. Our two colleagues will soon be reunited with their families.”
Out of respect for the privacy of the two, MSF is not disclosing their identities. The organization will also not publish any information on the circumstances under which these events took place.
“Our aim is to continue working in Haiti, where the needs remain immense and our assistance is essential,” said Bruno Jochum, operational director for MSF, based in Geneva. “We want to stay, but this security incident forces us to thoroughly review how we can work in the country. Managing the safety of our 3,000 Haitian staff and 400 international aid workers is a priority and has now become more complicated. We need to reflect on the consequences of this for our work here."
MSF has been bringing medical relief to Haiti for 19 years. Following the devastating January 12 earthquake, MSF rapidly flew in extra emergency staff and supplies. So far, MSF teams have provided medical treatment to more than 40,000 people, including 3,500 surgical procedures, distributed 7,000 tents, provided water to tens of thousands of homeless people, and offered psychological support to thousands trying to cope with the loss of their loved ones and belongings.