Santo Domingo is new port for Haiti, as DR hospitals treating victims as relief sent across
The main airport in Santo Domingo (Las Americas International Airport) has been receiving a massive flow of aid workers, reporters and rescue workers, becoming the second largest port of entry into Haiti, according to reporters from the French Press Agency (AFP).
“The hotels are full, it is impossible to get a rental car” said some freelance reporters who were negotiating a trip to Haiti for the following day at US$100 a seat. Some 60 Red Cross workers arrived on Saturday night along with members of Doctors without Borders and aid workers from South Africa’s Gift of the Givers (who were proud to be the first NGO from Africa to arrive on the American continent).
This as hospitals in Neiba, Barahona, Jimani, Azua, Santiago and Santo Domingo are treating thousands of cases of Haitians injured in Tuesday’s 7.0 earthquake. According to Hoy newspaper, more than 2,600 people have been treated and over 250 remain hospitalized.
The nation’s largest trauma hospital, the Dario Contreras, has performed hundreds of operations on quake victims. Cedimat and the General Hospital at the Plaza de la Salud, together with Dario Contreras, are reporting that most patients are in a stable condition.
Members of the United Nations Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and two diplomats are being treated at Cedimat and 10 patients are in the Plaza de la Salud. Health Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez told reporters that all the hospitals along the frontier, especially the one in Jimani, are full of Haitian patients. Hospitals in Barahona, Neiba and Azua are also providing treatment for the victims.
Thousands of Dominicans and foreigners have been donating blood to the Dominican Red Cross, including hundreds of soldiers from the Armed Forces. The blood is being carefully processed and classified for use in Haiti.
The Dominican Red Cross also announced that the International Red Cross/Red Crescent would convene in Santo Domingo and coordinate its relief program from there.
Doctors at the Dario Contreras trauma hospital in Santo Domingo said that the hospital is about to collapse because of the large number of patients arriving for treatment. Dr. Tomas Lambertus, chief anesthesiologist, told Hoy that 98 patients have been admitted over the weekend, most with multiple traumas and fractures, 3 of whom have died.
He said one of the problems is the large number of people who have been discharged, but do not leave because they apparently don’t have anywhere to go.
Convoys of trucks bound for Haiti were leaving Santo Domingo throughout the weekend, loaded with an “enormous amount” of relief supplies.
“This is taking a lot of time“, said Michael Cochrane, the Red Cross spokesperson in Geneva, “because the roads are narrow and some of the vehicles in the convoy are very large“.
There are two mobile hospitals, “the most incredible that I have seen” said Cochrane. The convoy had to travel by land because of the congestion at the only airport in Port-au-Prince. The United Nations said that they had turned a corner on Saturday with the arrival of 180 tons of relief supplies that they began to distribute to the desperately hungry victims.
The supplies included 13 trucks loaded with bottled water. According to Listin Diario, Red Cross workers from Norway, Finland, Spain, Denmark and Japan are accompanying the mobile 50-bed hospital to Haiti.