The Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, Josep Borrell, today decorated, at the Palacio de Santa Cruz, 129 members of the START team who participated in the humanitarian operation dispatched by the Spanish government to Mozambique in April.
Joining Minister Borrell at the event were the State Secretary for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, Juan Pablo de la Iglesia, the Under Secretary of the Department, Angeles Moreno, and the Director of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, Ana Maria Calvo.
Known as the "red vests", the first rotation of the START team departed from Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base on 29 March last to support the Hospital de Dondo (Mozambique) respond to those affected by Cyclone Idai. Comprised of a field hospital with capacity for surgery and hospitalization, and an extensive team deployed across two fifteen-day shifts, the START team treated over 2,000 people between 2 April, when the hospital was opened, and 30 April, when withdrawal began.
A total of 142 people participated in this first START humanitarian mission comprised of healthcare personnel from the National Health System; response personnel from the Emergency and Immediate Response Unit of the Comunidad de Madrid (ERICAM); firefighters from Madrid City Council; personnel from the Madrid ambulance service SUMMA and from the NGO Zaporeak; pharmaceutical technicians from the NGO Farmamundi; gender and psychosocial support experts from Médicos del Mundo as well as personnel from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
Over the course of the mission, the START team treated a total 2,275 people, of whom 7% were pregnant women and 361 were children aged between 5 and 17. Treatment was mostly for paediatric and obstetric-gynaecological conditions and trauma.
After the withdrawal of the START team, Spanish Cooperation provided support for the refurbishment of the Hospital de Dondo which was itself affected by Cyclone Idai, and with which the START team collaborated to centralize incoming patients. The rooms affected by the Cyclone were repaired to improve the basic treatment offered at this health centre.