The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Tim Shenk,Press Officer,Direct: 212-763-5764,E-mail:,

MSF Report on Haiti: Despite Massive Aid Response, Significant Needs Remain One Year After Quake

MSF issues review of emergency response and current gaps in medical care; shelter, water and sanitation, and secondary health care challenges


One year after a devastating earthquake killed an estimated 222,000
people and left 1.5 million people homeless, Haitians continue to endure
appalling living conditions amid a nationwide cholera outbreak, despite
the largest humanitarian aid deployment in the world, said the
international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without
Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

While overall access to basic healthcare has improved since the
earthquake, the rapid spread of cholera across the country underscores
the limits of the international aid system in responding effectively to
new emergencies. International agencies must live up to the commitments
made to the Haitian people and to donors by turning promises into more
concrete actions, said MSF.

Urgent humanitarian needs must be met while long-term reconstruction
plans are pursued. The overall health of the population and the ability
to contain the risk of disease outbreaks depend on improving water and
sanitation and ensuring that the one million people still living in
tents have access to sufficient transitional shelter.

"The massive devastation wrought by the earthquake provoked an
extraordinary outpouring of generosity from private individual donors
around the world and promises from the international community to 'build
Haiti back better,'" said Stefano Zannini, MSF head of mission in

"But the sad reality today is that even as Haitians try to rebuild
their lives, many people remain extremely vulnerable, especially as they
face a second and largely preventable disaster in a cholera epidemic
that so far has claimed at least 3,600 more lives."

MSF today issued a review of its own emergency response following the
earthquake and an assessment of the existing gaps in secondary health
care services that it will attempt to address in the year ahead. MSF's
response in Haiti since the earthquake and the cholera epidemic
constitutes the largest disaster operation in the organization's

By the end of 2010, MSF estimates that it will have spent all of the
104 million euros ($138 million) donated by private individuals to
mobilize its earthquake relief effort and respond to the cholera
epidemic. From January 12 to October 31, 2010, MSF medical teams treated
more than 358,000 people, performed more than 16,500 surgeries, and
delivered more than 15,000 babies. More than 5,700 major operations were
carried out over the first three months alone, making MSF one of the
largest providers of surgical care.

Since the start of the cholera epidemic, MSF-supported cholera
treatment centers have treated more than 91,000 people out of the
171,300 cases reported nationwide through January 1, 2011.

"As the anniversary of the earthquake approaches, it is important to
reflect even more on the shortfalls of the past year given the immense
needs of the population and the trust bestowed by individuals worldwide
to help meet those needs," said Dr. Unni Karunakara, MSF international
president. "With the ongoing generous support of our private donors and
commitment of our staff-many of whom continued to work despite the
deaths of family members and friends-MSF is dedicated to using our
experience in Haiti to sustain and improve upon our programs in the
country and to remain prepared for future emergencies."

MSF's operational budget projections for Haiti for 2011 are 46 million
euros ($60.7 million) to maintain a network of six private hospitals in
Port-au-Prince, with a total capacity of up to 1,000 beds, and to
maintain support of two Ministry of Health hospitals. Three of the
facilities in the capital will be newly constructed in 2011-including
the only functioning burn treatment unit in the capital-replacing
temporary facilities established in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Outside the capital, in Leogane, MSF will continue to run a newly
constructed 120-bed general hospital. Among MSF's operational priorities
in Haiti are obstetric, emergency, and trauma care.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. MSF's work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality. The organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas.