Before the quake

  • Trinité Trauma Centre – the only emergency surgery facility in Port-au-Prince
  • Pacot Rehabilitation centre – specialized post-operative care
  • Martissant Emergency Room – stabilization of patients and referral
  • Maternité Solidarité – obstetric hospital for emergency cases
  • 800 Haitian and 30 International staff in Haiti

Day 1: Jan. 12

  • 7.0 quake strikes 15 km SW of PaP
  • Massive destruction of buildings and huge loss of life. Most of the estimated 200,000 deaths probably occurred very rapidly
  • All of MSF’s facilities are damaged, some severely. Many staff are missing
  • Within minutes, injured people start arriving at MSF’s sites. Emergency first aid given all evening and night


© Julie Remy - Port-au-Prince, Haiti - January 16, 2010
In Choscal hospital, where MSF relocated after its original facilities were so badly damaged, the operating theatre has been working non stop.

Day 2: Jan. 13

  • Martissant evacuated, patients in tents. 300 new cases treated for trauma, fractures and burns
  • Pacot also deals with 300, La Trinite with over 400.
  • Petionville admin offices become tent clinic with 200 treated. Others at Solidarité
  • One MSF coordinator, Stefano Zannini, describes what he sees in the city as “Chaotic. Many hospitals are damaged and I saw a distressing number of dead bodies.”

Day 3: Jan. 14

  • Need for wound care and surgery is overwhelming
  • Search for buildings that could be used as operating theatres. Surgery starts under plastic sheeting
  •  Struggle to get medical materials and staff into Haiti. Only one MSF flight with 25 tons able to land so far

Day 4: Jan. 15

  • Choscal Hospital, where MSF used to work in Cité Soleil, starts as new MSF treatment centre with 300 transferred from Martissant
  • 1,500 patients seen so far in all MSF locations
  • Race against time with infected wounds needing care and surgery
  • Blockages at airport hamper MSF flights. Only 9 new staff have been able to get in

Day 5 : Jan. 16

  • Choscal Hospital starts surgery
  • 2,000 patients treated so far in all locations
  • Two cargo planes arrive in PaP with 85 tons of supplies and half an inflatable hospital
  • 41 new staff have arrived by now

Day 6: Jan. 17

  • Teams focussed on lifesaving surgery, for which the need is still overwhelming
  • Trinité Hospital has two operating theatres, one in a container. Choscal also has two working round the clock
  • Carrefour hospital opens and treats 500 patients in first day
  • Assessment missions outside of the city to Léogâne and by helicopter to Jacmel find many injured and untreated people

Day 7: Jan. 18

  • 3,000 people treated by this stage, with 400 surgical cases
  • 130 new staff have arrived since the quake
  • Major concerns about medical supplies running out and cargo flights not getting in to PaP

Day 8: Jan. 19

  • Another new hospital opens at Chancerelle in PaP focussed on trauma and obstetric care
  • Dialysis for kidney consequences of crush injuries starts
  • Supply problems mount. Surgeon Paul McMaster says “ One day we ran out of an anaesthetic, the next it was plaster of Paris and today we have no crepe bandages. “
  • The remaining parts of the inflatable hospital reach PaP by road from the Dominican Republic

Day 9: Jan. 20

  • 6.1 strength aftershock terrifies patients in the wards and most have to be taken outside to tents
  • MSF surgical teams averaging 130 operations per day
  • There are now 8 operating theatres
  • Psychological support started for amputees and their relatives

Day 10: Jan. 21

  • Carrefour and Pacot buildings no longer safe after the tremor
  • Mobile clinics begin in PaP and outside in Grand-Goâve and Dufourt
  • Surgery starts in Léogâne
  • New staff reaches 200 with 200 tons of material having arrived

Day 11: Jan. 22

  • MSF has treated 5,400 patients since the earthquake
  • Choscal hospital is operating on over 30 per day and sees a growth in gunshot and machete wounds
  • The mobile clinics find large numbers of people with untreated injuries and conditions who have not been able to find medical care
  • MSF records with great regret that it has established that four Haitian colleagues died in the disaster

Day 12: Jan. 23

  • Huge needs for post-operative care and for treatment of people with infections or complications from initial injuries
  • Bicentenaire post-operative facility opens, along with another in PaP in a kindergarden
  • Distribution of family kits of blankets, soap and cooking utensils starts in Jacmel
  • Greenpeace boat “Esperanza” docks in PaP and unloads more of these supplies for MSF

Day 13: Jan. 24

  • MSF’s International President Dr. Christophe Fournier, who is in Port-au-Prince, offers condolences and thanks to Haitian staff. “So many of you have lost your houses, friends, family members. And yet you are all here working hard to save lives, to treat people.”
  • Haitian surgeon, Dr. Philippe Brouard, who has worked with MSF since 2006, says “You focus on the patients all day – you cure people – but when you go home you see the state of your country and that does something to you.”

Day 14: Jan. 25

  • Saint-Louis hospital, the inflatable one, opens in a field in PaP. 200 patients and two operating theatres
  • 260 new staff now and 6,200 patients treated
  • 18 MSF psychiatrists and psychologists are providing support to patients and to medical staff who worked through the quake
  • Household essentials distributed in Grand-Goâve and Léogâne towns

Day 15: Jan. 26

  • New phase of surgery underway. Rosa Christani, one of MSF’s Emergency Medical Coordinators explains, “While we have done life-saving interventions so far, we need now to be able to do more limb-saving operations, where wounds are infected and threaten the entire limb.”
  • 54 dialysis procedures have been carried out
  • “New Carrefour Hospital” opens in a school beside the original building that is now unsafe
  •  Supplementary feeding for children begins via mobile clinics in the Carrefour area.

Day 16: Jan. 27

  • Fearful patients moved out of Léogâne hospital to tents in the grounds
  • Tent clinic in Carrefour Feuille camp of 9,000 people
  • Martissant hospital records over 2,000 patients treated since the quake
  • Supplies flown to PaP and Dominican Republic reach 650 tons

Day 17: Jan. 28

  • Village Grace clinic opens in converted church amongst 15,000 displaced people
  • Water trucking and bladders to camps near MSF facilities in Chancerelle, Carrefour and “Mickey”
  • Bicentenaire post operative and emergency care centre starts in former private clinic.
  • Saint-Louis inflatable hospital increases its work with 25 surgical cases

Days 18/21: Jan. 29–Feb. 1

  • Over 11,000 patients treated since the earthquake with 1,300 surgical operations
  • Operating theatres still busy: Léogâne teams performing 30 operations a day.
  • Lycée site opens for post-operative care, minor surgery.
  • In many of MSF’s clinics, 20% of the consultations are for mental health issues.

Days 22/25: 2nd–4th Feb

  • By now, MSF is improving access to water and sanitation for around 40,000 people.
  • 1,280 Haitian and 353 international staff.
  • Chancerelle hospital has an average of 12 births a day, 40% of them caesarian.
  • Post operative tent “village” at Delmas 30 takes first 30 patients.

One Month On: Feb. 12

  • MSF hospital beds in Haiti reach 740.
  • 1,400 tonnes of material has arrived Haiti and the Dominican Republic
  • Post operative facilities in Promesse open and Bicentenaire completes 50 bed extension.
  • Generous support from the public around the world for MSF’s work reaches $100 million. MSF has already committed $28 million to cover the work to the end of February.

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