“We are moving from the immediate emergency phase responding to the direct consequences,” said Dr. Ronald Waldman, the U.S. health emergency coordinator, who has been stationed in Port-au-Prince since shortly after the earthquake. Now, he said, medical aid is moving to a second stage “to make sure that people who are displaced don’t suffer from indirect consequences.”
The shift threatens to overwhelm the medical community here. Many health-care facilities remain unusable, and new cases of diarrhea, malaria and other diseases are picking up in tent communities crammed with tens of thousands of people who lost their homes.
“If you want to spread tuberculosis, jam a bunch of people into tents next to each other,” said Warren Johnson, a Gheskio co-founder who is director of the Center for Global Health at Weill Cornell Medical College. “The second phase promises to be as cruel as the first.”