With the search and rescue phase of the Haiti earthquake response over, many of the emergency field hospitals have flown in and flown out, their work now complete. There is no longer an urgent need to rescue the buried and count the dead, though huge unmet humanitarian need remains. The emphasis for international aid agencies now shifts to help the living survive, recover and rebuild their lives in a sustainable way particularly with the collapse of all government services and infrastructure.

As a result, World Jewish Relief is beginning an operational partnership with the international medical aid agency, Merlin which will include the recruitment of medical and technical personnel from the UK Jewish community to Haiti to assist with the relief programs for six month placements.

Merlin has been at the forefront of surgical and primary health care intervention in Haiti since the quake. WJR’s partnership with them will enable the pooling of resources to assist in the significant scaling up of health services to those affected by the disaster to enable a more efficient and longer term response in the provision of basic but critical primary health care than might be otherwise possible.

The specific WJR project will involve the establishment of mobile and then static health clinics in areas where health infrastructure, services and support are now severely limited. The project will initially provide four mobile clinics thereby allowing for rapid deployment to areas with limited access to health care, or areas where gaps appear when other agencies have moved on.

Two of the mobile clinics will be based in Port-au-Prince, serving slum areas in Carrefour and camps for displaced people in the city and surrounding areas. A further two mobile clinics are likely to be based in Petit Goave, serving camps for displaced people in the town and surrounding areas, including camps in Gaston and Beatrice where access to health care is very limited.

WJR has to date raised £450,000 from its emergency Haiti appeal and has disbursed £65,000 to a range of much needed relief interventions. The partnership with Merlin will allocate a further £250,000 of the monies raised to set up, establish and manage these healthcare initiatives.