RESOURCES

Still invisible: Persons with disabilities in post-quake Haiti


Still invisible: Persons with disabilities in post-quake Haiti
Report
from FOCAL
Published on 07 Apr 2010

It is expected that the number of persons living with physical disabilities will continue to rise.
When the world was attentive to the shocking reports and images out of Haiti in the aftermath of the January earthquake, nothing was heard about what was happening to people already living with disabilities.
When the injured were dug out from the rubble, many were horrified to discover that hundreds of amputations were performed under canvas, without proper equipment. Now that the camera crews have packed up and moved on, how much will be done for people with existing and newly-acquired disabilities? And how will they be included in the rebuilding of Haiti?
The quake killed up to 200,000 people, injured many others and left one-third of the country's population of nine million in need of emergency aid. Approximately 800,000 Haitians were already living with a disability, and in the first few weeks after the quake, 2,000 to 4,000 amputations were performed.
Sadly, it is expected that the number of persons living with physical disabilities will continue to rise. Lack of mobility aids, such as crutches, can lead to limb shortage and permanent disability. The lack of clean water and poor sanitation can result in secondary wound infection, gangrene and amputation. For the same reason, those with newly-acquired amputations may need another amputation higher up on the body if the stump gets infected.