Haiti was not particularly well-blessed with hospitals before the disaster. Now few are still standing, and in those that are the crush of people needing medical attention is huge.
Soldiers are posted to prevent people overwhelming the hard-pressed medical staff who are struggling with shortages of every kind.
With few usable hospitals makeshift wards are being set up in streets still strewn with debris. While organisations like the World Food Programme and Medicins sans Frontiers had previously stockpiled supplies they are now using, they will not last for ever and there are already significant shortages, including warehouses to store the mountains of supplies Haiti will need.
Surgery needs sterile instruments, but only hot water and soap is currently available for many cases.
“Normally you don’t perform surgery in a tent without lights. When the sun goes down I suppose we’ll use head torches,” said one doctor.
The threat now is that even minor injuries could become life-threatening as infections set in and become septic. All for the lack of a little of medicine’s most basic treatment.
“Many of the current injuries are open wounds
and are starting to become infected, When that starts, septecemia becomes a risk,” warned an aid worker.
The injuries are not just physical. With such loss of life, and such dramatic events many survivors are traumatised, alone, and totally helpless. Deborah is a just-arrived Brazilian pyschologist who is going round the camps to do her bit to help. Haiti will need more dedication like this to pull through.