International rescuers work hard at quake epicenter

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Rescuers from Cuba, Germany, the United States and Canada toiled side by side in roasting field hospitals on Sunday to treat the injured people at the epicenter of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

In Leogane, some 30 km west of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince, there were some 36 Cuban-trained staff, including both doctors and Haitian students providing first aid service in a field hospital set up by Germans.

"We have cured many people that came to us two or three days ago," said Alfredo Taset, an orthopedic doctor with the Henry Reeve battalion that was formed in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina and has continued to operate across the world ever since.

Taset said there were more gangrenous fractures in Haitian earthquake than in other disasters he has provided medical aid.

Thomas Gienes, a German doctor who worked in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, also said the injuries he saw in Haiti were far worse than that in Asia.

Hilaire Jean Wilgard, a worker for the Palm Region Development and Reconstruction Action Group for Citizens, said his group had built makeshift tents while seeking lives at a school building.

"No one knew what to do," said Wilgard, whose organization has been working in the area since 2005. "We went house to house to tell people not to stay in homes with cracked walls and ceilings."

A Canadian helicopter rushed to send a skull-cracked young girl out of the town Sunday morning to get further treatment. Canadian doctors who speak perfect creole were coordinating with Wilgard on sending additional people to a field hospital set up by Japanese medical volunteers.

Both Gienes and Taset said they would like to stay as long as they could to cure more injuries if permitted.

Nevertheless, many local people have still found it hard to get appropriate medical help in time.

Seventy-year-old Anita Aristide, who had her wrist and leg broken in the earthquake, was untreated for the first five days after the quake. It is even worse that the miserable woman had to wait another five days for appropriate treatment.

According to Aristide's brother Constant Desir and his son Jimmy Desir, another family member of theirs with a fractured hip is now staying at home after being sent back by nurses.

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