Friday, January 15, 2010

Summary of Aid Response to Haitian Earth Quake 1.14.10

Summary of Aid Response to Haitian Earth Quake 1.14.10
MSF has already delivered 25 ton of medical supplies to Haiti from a MSF base in Panama. More aid is waiting to be deployed, but damage to the airport has made delivering aid difficult. An inflatable hospital is among the aid that has yet to be delivered. This inflatable hospital contains 2 much needed operating theaters and a sterile environment to treat patients. Aid is expected to be delivered in the next 24 hrs.
So far they have been able to set up 4 hospital tents outside the buildings they were previously working in, and they have already began treating patients. They estimate over 1000 so far. They have also been able to use an operating theater in the Cite Soleil district. Staff members continue to search for intact medical structure.
Red Cross
Red Cross committed $10 million in aid. They have shipped blood and blood products to Guantanamo Bay for Haitian evacuees. The ICRC has also sent a plane of supplies (mostly medical) and staff, which are expected to arrive soon. Among the staff there are engineers, a surgeon and family linking specialist.

Partners in Health
The Cange Hospital site, a 2 hours drive from Port-au-Prince, is at full capacity. They have admitted 70 patients, 20 who need orthopedic surgery. They are using a nearby church for a triage center and a school for over flow. Other members of their staff are making their way to Port-au -Prince
There is a very informative interview with Ophelia Dahl, cofounder of PIH.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I feel so helpless. Of all the places for this to happen why Haiti? The people are devastated. The international community is mobilizing, but no one can get into the country. So far, MSF has only been able to get 1 of 3 planes in. I think at this point the best bet is to support Partners in Health because they have staff and facilities already in the country that were not damaged. Their workers are in route to Port-au-Prince and they have warehouses full of supplies already in Haiti (according to Ophelia Dahhl's interview with NPR). However, MSF is coming with inflatable hospitals that will be absolutely critical.
God, help the Haitian people and let the aid workers be fast and competent.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

2 MSF staff killed in Pakistan

On Sunday Feb. 1,2009 two of the medial staff, Riaz Ahmad (24) and Nasar Ali (27), from Doctors Without Borders were killed in Pakistan. Their ambulance was attacked while they traveled to an area of fighting to retrieve wounded.

During a military conflict, International Humanitarian Law requires that medical staff and medical facilities be spared. I can not even fathom what kind of person would not respect these laws. Everyday fighting spill over onto civilian territories, and somebody needs to be there to help those people survive. Who will help if the aid workers are are unable? No one. Are there even repercussions when medical staff are attacked? What happened on Sunday was not an accident. Their clearly marked ambulance came under attack.

The sacrifice that these two men made should be remembered always. They knew the risk and selflessly attempted to help make a difference anyway. Although I have never met these men my heart goes out to their families and friends. If I could talk to them now, I would say they were heroes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

check these out

1.29.09 - 1.26.09: A moderated e-discussion on Global Public Health organized by the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and UN Development Programme (UNDP).

1.30.09: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization posted a news release addressing the state of Gaza after the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

UNICEF published their Humanitarian Action Report 2009.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

humanatarian update by country

Sri Lanka: The Sri Lankan government has been engaged in civil war with a group of separatist who call themselves the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers) since 1983. During this conflict both sides have been accused of Human Rights Violations, and an estimated 70,000 people have died.

Currently, about 250,000 civilians are trapped between the forces on a 300 square km patch of jungle. On Thursday the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) transported 226 seriously wounded civilians out of the region in a convey. Hours later President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged safe passage for the remaining civilians trapped by the fighting and asked the Tamil Tigers to do the same.

Somalia: Somalia has basically been in a state of anarchy since 1991 when the dictator Mohamed Siad Barre fell. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is the government currently recognized by the international community. However, the government has little control over the country.

In December 2008, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed resigned when the Parliament insisted on reinstating the Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein. As such, Parliament elected Sheikh Sharif Sheekh Ahmed to be President on Saturday (Jan 30,2009) in Djibouti. Sheikh Sharif Sheekh Ahmed is a moderate Islamic leader and promises to tackle piracy, insurgents and work towards peace with their neighbors.

Myanmar: Myanmar is governed by a harsh military dictatorship which targets minorities. As a result more than half a million of its people have fled the neighboring countries.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslim minority have fled their homes and are unable to return. While the Myanmar government is denying that these people are from their country, the Thai government has been intercepting the refugees, towing them out to sea and cutting them lose. An estimated 550 refugees are thought to have drown since December.

Zimbabwe: August 2008 marked the start of the cholera outbreak that is sweeping through Zimbabwe. Cholera typically has a mortality rate of 1% but in this case it is claiming the lives of 4.5% of the individuals infected, according to the World Health Organization. This is most likely the result malnutrition and high HIV rates.

Since cholera is usually spread by water contaminated with fecal matter, the outbreak has been allowed to spread in part due to the decline of the sanitation infrastructure. Specifically, the state operated water companies have run out of Aluminum Sulfate which is important for water purification.

In addition to the cholera epidemic, there has also been wide spread food shortages since 2000. According to the Human Right's Watch an estimated 5.1 million ( 1/2 the population) will need food aid. In addition, rising unemployment, a failing economy, government sponsored violence, land seizures, disappearances, and crop/livestock destruction has left the country in total disarray.

On Friday (jan 30,09) the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) agreed to let the party leader Morgan Tsvangirai form a unity government with the governing party, the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Hopefully the shared power will eliminate the politically motivated violence and enable the country to get the Cholera outbreak under control.

check for more info

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gaza... oh Gosh

December 27 marked the commencement of yet another Middle Eastern conflict. Israel, in response to an estimated 3,000 rocket attacks, began its attack on Gaza with a series of air strike taking out various locations suspected to have Hamas leaders. While Israel’s desire to protect their people is completely understandable their actions are not.

During the air strikes Israel targeted a many civilian areas, most disturbingly, a mosque and an elementary school on a refugee camp operated by the United Nations. The blatant disregard for innocent civilians has left a humanitarian disaster. Of the 1300 casualties 410 were children and 104 were women. Not to mention the fact that 34 heath facilities have been hit (both directly and indirectly with shelling) killing 16 and wounding 22 health care workers (WHO).

This is not to say that Hamas is the innocent victim. However, I do not think that Israel’s offensive strikes will accomplish much in terms of securing their people or discouraging terrorism. Economic sanctions, with the purpose of starving out Hamas, have probably done more to strengthen the terrorist’s resolve then weaken it. The conditions in Gaza are already primed towards violence. More violence will not fix the problem. Not in a region so displaced that a majority of the dense population remains in refugee camps!