The efficiency of Cuba’s cooperation with Haiti was highlighted by Victor Geneus, the Haitian Ambassador in Cuba, when he was evaluating the damage caused by the earthquake that devastated his country on 12 January 2010.
The diplomat described the tragedy as a complete disaster that will make the recovery of the country very long and difficult.
Geneus estimated the damages and confirmed that the destruction of the capital Port-au-Prince was so large, and that the amount of disappeared people will increase day by day.
He confirmed that the international aid arriving at the capital by air was very useful but needs much better coordination. Medicines as well as medical aid needed priority. Phone and road communications needed to be repaired.
The ambassador thanked the Cuban Government and their people for their cooperation in these very difficult times. He also recognised that the biggest island in the Caribbean had always given loads of human solidarity to Haiti.
’Cuban doctors have a lot of experience about our reality, lots of good feelings to help us and lots of understanding. All that is what we need most.’
After an earthquake of 7.0 on the Richter scale, followed by several more aftershocks of lower intensity, thousands of people have died, dozens of official buildings, houses and infrastructure in Port-au-Prince suffered damages that has not yet been fully evaluated. Cuba has raised her flag in Haiti.
After the earthquake, as many people left to their homelands, with their final pictures taken of their stay in Haiti, 938 Cuban medical personnel and at least 380 Haitian doctors trained in Cuba, remained saving lives. They remain no matter what the situation is now and no matter what is yet to come.
Cuba was the first country to help desperate Haiti when the big cloud of dust left by the earthquake had not yet disappeared. There were hundreds of aid worker going to where the Cuban doctors had already been for 10 years (since 1999).
A legion of injured and dead people has flooded Port-au-Prince. There was massive chaos in the early hours among the doctors. Today they still remain there with four field hospitals.
According to Dr. Carlos Alberto Garcia, member of the Cuban Coordination team, many of the aid workers from other countries are returning home because they consider there is no longer an emergency. ‘We think the emergency is still there, but it is looked at in another dimension, not from the surgical point of view, but with other illnesses that are showing at the moment among them diarhorreal infections, skin injuries, paludism [malaria], parasites and typhoid.’
The most significant part of the Cuban help is to achieve an integrated, holistic attention to the patients. This is confirmed by treatment, health promotions, infectious vectors control and rehabilitation. This last service is vital in a population affected by trauma and amputations.
Here are a few figures:
• 95,000 people treated
• 4,500 operations, of which 1,500 were mayor radical surgeries
• including 1,100 amputations
• A total of 1,439 Cuban and Cuban-trained doctors working in Haiti.