FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2010
Contact: HHS Press Office
HHS: First Teams Hit the Ground in Haiti - New Resources on Haiti Recovery Effort Now Available for Media and the Public
Medical personnel and medical supplies from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hit the ground today in Haiti. HHS is leading the U.S. medical and public health response. The department has activated the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which specializes in dealing with the medical impacts of major peacetime disasters. HHS is working closely with the U.S. Department of State, which is notifying HHS of specific requests from Haiti for medical and public health support in the disaster zone. HHS also launched a Web site (www.hhs.gov/haiti) for media and the public, to provide real-time updates on the department’s response to the earthquake in Haiti.
“The first group of personnel from NDMS and the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service arrived today in Haiti. An International Medical Surgical Response Team will provide care for severely injured patients, and five Disaster Medical Assistance Teams will provide basic and acute medical care,’’ said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Additional teams may be called upon to provide emergency medical care, public health disaster assessments, environmental health evaluations, and engineering assistance.”
The teams include doctors, nurses, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians from around the country, as well as health professionals who speak Haitian Creole. The teams have medicine, medical supplies and equipment. The first U.S. shipment of 22,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies arrived this morning in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
HHS disaster mortuary personnel are also en route to Haiti. They will be working with Haitian officials to determine how Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Teams and a Deployable Portable Morgue Unit can help to identify victims and manage fatalities.
“The situation is changing rapidly,” said Secretary Sebelius. “All offers of assistance are greatly appreciated, but we hope everyone will keep in mind that deployments depend on current needs and logistics. Simply making resources available to the relief effort is a significant contribution.”
RESOURCES AVAILABLE FOR THE PUBLIC AND THE MEDIA
The HHS Web site provides public health and safety information on Haiti, including guidance to relief workers, first responders, and those residents of Haiti who can access the Internet. It also has travel alerts, disaster mitigation information, and information on how the public can support relief efforts; and media resources.
The HHS Web site supplements information provided by the White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov/haitiearthquake, and that of other federal agencies involved in the integrated government response.
HHS b-roll is available of equipment being prepared and loaded at the HHS Mission Support Center in Frederick, Md., for use by the National Disaster Medical System and International Medical Surgical Response Team providing medical services in Haiti after the earthquake.
Contact: HHS Press office at (202) 690-6343
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011