Norway to send emergency medical team to Haiti

The Government has decided to send an expanded emergency medical team to Haiti to assist the country in the aftermath of the earthquake on 14 August, which was followed by a devastating tropical storm.

The supplies and equipment are provided by the Directorate for Civil Protection and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
The supplies and equipment are provided by the Directorate for Civil Protection and the Norwegian Directorate of Health. Credit: DSB

The team is being sent in response to a request for assistance from the authorities in Haiti.

‘The health services in Haiti were already under pressure before these natural disasters struck. Haiti has now requested assistance from Norway in connection with the response. We are therefore sending a specially trained emergency medical team of around 30 people. We are also sending supplies to set up a clinic in the affected area and equipment for a camp to accommodate the team and other humanitarian aid workers. The team will be equipped to treat a minimum of 100 patients per day,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Norway will provide an expanded emergency medical team (Nor EMT), which includes health, logistics and security personnel, as well as personnel to run the camp where the team and other workers will stay. After Norway has completed its mission, the equipment will be donated to the Haitian authorities for further use.

The Nor EMT team is scheduled to depart for Haiti on 6 September. The mission is initially expected to last for six weeks. The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection is cooperating with the Norwegian Directorate of Health to assemble the team and organise the supplies and equipment.

‘Nor EMT personnel are highly trained, and have broad experience in providing assistance under very difficult conditions. The team will be able to provide great help to Haiti as it deals with this immense crisis,’ said Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Mæland.

Haiti is in urgent need of assistance. The massive devastation caused by the earthquake on 14 August was exacerbated by the tropical storm that arrived two days later. Approximately 2 200 people have died, and over 12 000 are injured. Very few of Haiti’s inhabitants have been vaccinated against Covid-19, and there are fears that cholera and other infectious diseases will spread quickly in the wake of the disasters.

‘There is widespread shortage of medical supplies and equipment in the country. Infrastructure and roads have been destroyed in many places, and the health service is buckling under the strain. Haiti needs our help, and Norway stands ready to provide assistance,’ said Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.

‘We are worried that the lack of clean water in the affected areas will lead to outbreaks of cholera and other infectious diseases. There is an urgent need for medical assistance,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

What is a Nor EMT?

The Norwegian Emergency Medical Team (Nor EMT) was established in 2018. Nor EMT can be quickly deployed to respond to emergencies such as earthquakes, other natural disasters and serious outbreaks of disease if the UN, the EU or an individual country request assistance. The team consists of specially trained personnel and is equipped to treat a minimum of 100 patients per day. Nor EMT can provide much needed primary health care, treat and stabilise acute medical conditions, and transfer and transport patients to the appropriate treatment facility. The Nor EMT team supplements the activities of NGOs in crisis situations. It is part of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which aims to provide support and strengthen the crisis management capacity of member states and WHO.