Here’s what it looks like inside a field hospital treating migrants on the southern US border

The hospital became fully operational on Tuesday and treated around 70 patients in its first 24 hours, according to Dr David Tarantino, Chief Medical Officer of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Before the facility opened, CBP emergency medical technicians and paramedics who had been deployed to the border treated approximately 1,000 people.

“From the start, we recognized the humanitarian challenge of this event,” Tarantino told CNN’s Rosa Flores on Wednesday.
Thousands of migrants, many of them Haitians, crammed into makeshift camps under the Del Rio International Bridge for days, at one point surpassing 14,000 people – sleeping in the dirt, surrounded by garbage and without lots of food and water. The influx of crowds was the result of word-of-mouth or social media messages that the border at Del Rio was open, US border patrol chief Raul Ortiz said.

As of Thursday evening, around 3,050 migrants remained under the bridge awaiting treatment, according to Lewis Owens, Val Verde County Judge.

Many migrants at the border have undertaken trips lasting several months to reach America. Some Haitians awaiting treatment had lived in South America for years, having fled their homelands in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Others fled recently, due to a combination of economic depression and instability policy following the assassination of the president in July and an earthquake in August that killed more than 2,000.

More than 150 CBP paramedics and paramedics have been deployed to assist migrants at the border, Tarantino said.

“We have been addressing water, sanitation, hygiene, food issues and medical care have been a top priority from day one,” he said. “Our idea was to ensure that medical (issues) are covered for migrants, but also to protect our workforce, but also to reduce the burden on the local health system.”

Since the field hospital became fully functional, staff have treated environmental and heat-related injuries, migrants suffering from nausea, others suffering from respiratory illnesses due to dust and the environment. , as well as pregnant women with problems or concerns, Tarantino said.

Here's why a Haitian migrant and his pregnant wife made the months-long trip to America

“We had a delivery the other day that was done on-site here, between our EMT, paramedics, and our on-site medical team. We were able to manage that and then forwarded it to the local health system.” , did he declare. added.

The field hospital includes services including initial triage, vital signs and reception assistance, in which staff members are able to determine whether a case is urgent or acute and requires emergency treatment or guidance, said Tarantino.

“At our peak, we had over 14,000 people here (at the border) and some of them were here for over 24 hours and in an open environment. health and medical issues and concerns, ”Tarantino said. “So we wanted to be very responsive to medical needs and make sure we had a robust capacity on site.”

The Biden administration has come under bipartisan criticism for its handling of the influx of migrants. Some Democratic lawmakers have called on the administration to stop deporting those who fled Haiti and have criticized its treatment of migrants after media videos appear to show border patrol officials using aggressive tactics to confront them. Authorities said on Thursday they would suspend horse patrols.
Border patrol sought additional resources in Del Rio as early as June, union emails show
Department of Homeland Security officials refused to provide a number of migrants released to the United States, saying it takes time to collect the data. They added that there are a number of reasons why people cannot be deported on the basis of case-by-case determinations. An official said that “several thousand people” who were in Del Rio have returned to Mexico.
Twelve repatriation flights have left the United States and more than 1,400 Haitians have been returned to Haiti since Sunday, the department said. More than 3,200 Haitians have been moved from Camp Del Rio to CBP custody or other processing facilities along the border to be deported or subject to removal proceedings.
Daniel Foote, the United States’ special envoy for Haiti, resigned to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, saying he “would not be associated with the inhuman and counterproductive decision of the United States to deport thousands of Haitian refugees’ from the border and added the United States. Haiti’s political approach remains “deeply flawed”.

Rosa Flores reported from the border and Christina Maxouris wrote from Atlanta.

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