Cuba reacts to Haiti earthquake - latest news and video reports plus - fundraising Concert for Haiti details

Campaign News | Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Links to video reports and interveiws with Cuban doctors working in Haiti at the end of this article

Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez said helping Haiti was a priority following the devastating earthquake that caused huge human loss on 12 January.

Rodriguez said that there were more than 400 Cubans working on collaboration programs in Haiti at the time the earthquake shook the country, 344 of them health experts who immediately began helping the victims when the tremors subsided.

Within hours, Cuban doctors, nurses and health technicians had set up two field hospitals, one next to the one which had been destroyed by the earthquake.

By 13 January the Cuban specialists reportedly had provided medical care to 1,102 people, including 19 surgical operations.

An additional30 doctors, part of the Henry Reeve Emergency medical Brigade arrived in the Haitian capital the day after the earthquake taking medicines, clothes, food, saline solution and plasma bags.

On the 16 January the head of the Cuban medical brigade in Haiti compared the situation to what they had experienced following the Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan: ?The general opinion is that the Pakistani earthquake has been put in the shade - that was another huge earthquake, and some of these doctors worked there. In that country, many a time our doctors assisted patients with fractures whose bones were not well knitted together, or who had been crushed. But here reality has exceeded the imaginable: amputations abound, surgeries are being performed virtually out in the public. This is the image they envisaged of a war.”

As of 19 January Cuba's response had received little coverage in the Western media with Fox news even reporting that Cuba was absent from the list of Caribbean countries providing aid.

Missing from almost all reports is the fact that Cuba had a substantial medical team operating in Cuba before the earthquake struck who are still there or that Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine has also trained 551 Haitians to become doctors in recent years at no charge.

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