Makeshift medical facilities are being used to treat some of the thousands of people injured in Haiti’s earthquake. Many existing hospitals in Port-au-Prince have been struggling to cope after being damaged by Tuesday’s disaster.
Some medical staff are now patients themselves. Gary Fish, an American eye doctor working in Haiti, was at one of the newly-erected facilities with a colleague: “Our clinic building collapsed. It was a concrete building with a concrete roof. It injured five of us, some more severely than others. She’s the most severe.”
Even those who have survived are facing a dire situation with a lack of proper drugs and facilities to treat them.
One French nurse said: “There was a man with a serious foot injury which meant he had to have his foot amputated, without anaesthetic. And there was the risk of infection because we have no medicine. There are no antibiotics, so this patient faces a tragedy.”
It is another blow to a country that has found itself at the mercy of several natural disasters in recent years.
Dr Eric Laroche is from the World Health Organisation: “They have had cyclones and floods. The level of HIV/AIDS is quite high, so all of this makes an explosive cocktail, whereby if you are not geared to prepare for the worst, you are going to fail.”
The International Red Cross fears as many as 50,000 people died in the earthquake. Now the race is on to help those whose lives have been shattered.