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Rehabilitation centre opens in Haiti

Haiti's main physical rehabilitation centre will reopen its doors today for the first time since the 2010 earthquake.

Wednesday May 23, 2012


Haiti's main physical rehabilitation centre will open its doors today for the first time since it was seriously damaged in the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and left 1.5 million people homeless.

In Port-au-Prince for the opening, David Brown, leader of the Australian Red Cross International Disability Forum, said the centre had been rebuilt with more than $2 million in support from the global Red Cross Movement, including $700,000 from Australian Red Cross.

"Now that reconstruction is complete around 1,000 amputees will be able to receive limb-fitting services. The centre is also expected to manufacture around 200 artificial limbs and handle 6,000 physical therapy visits every year," said Mr Brown.

"The devastating earthquake injured an estimated 300,000 people in Haiti. Since the disaster, amputees and people with physical disabilities have been receiving treatment in cramped temporary clinics that have been struggling to the handle the large number of new patients.

"This centre will provide long-term rehabilitation and care to people currently living with disabilities and it will also cater for the needs of future generations.

"Red Cross has been able to help over one million people affected by the earthquake in Haiti. The rehabilitation centre is a lasting contribution to the health and wellbeing of the Haiti people and has been made possible, in part, by the generosity of the Australian public."

The reconstruction project has been supported by contributions from several Red Cross societies around the world, including Australian Red Cross, to the International Committee of the Red Cross Special Fund for the Disabled.

Australian Red Cross' relief and recovery work in Haiti has been supported by the Haiti Earthquake Appeal 2010, which raised more than $8 million from Australian donors and the Australian Government via AusAID. In addition to the rehabilitation centre, the Appeal has helped fund shelter, health and reconstruction projects in Haiti. The Appeal is closed and the funds have been fully allocated.

"The centre will be run by a non-governmental organisation, Healing Hands for Haiti International. The new building has the capacity to train 100 Haitian students in rehabilitation care and the long-term aim is that the clinic will eventually transition over to Haitian management," said Mr Brown.

For media enquiries please contact James Molan on +61(0)3 8327 7757 or +61(0)448 571 484.


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