A disability charity that specialises in rehabilitation and fitting artificial limbs has launched an urgent appeal for Haiti, after registering more than 400 amputations in Port-au-Prince alone, over the past few days.
Handicap International said that although tens of thousands injured people were still unable to access healthcare following the earthquake and aftershocks in Haiti, the charity's team had already found hundreds of people having had or about to have an amputation since Saturday.
The charity is appealing for donations so it can support people with artificial limb fitting and rehabilitation, both now and in the long term.
A week after the earthquake, only 12 hospitals in Port-au-Prince are operational and they are doing a quick turnaround of the wounded to try to save as many lives as possible, according to Handicap International.
However, the charity warned the consequences of this could be extremely serious, both for people reaching the hospital too late and for those leaving too early.
The conditions, which Handicap International described as "reminiscent of a war zone", mean many people are being discharged from hospital without advice on treatment, post-operative follow-up or any prospect for rehabilitation, the charity said.
They are returning to the streets or to make-shift shelters where hygiene conditions are terrible, making the risk of infections and gangrene very high, the organisation warned.
Some of Handicap International's emergency specialists, making their way to Haiti through the Dominican city of Santo Domingo, found about 20 Haitian amputees there.
The number of amputees is expected to increase rapidly in all places where the injured are receiving treatment and for the moment, no data is available on the number of people paralysed following spinal injuries.
Thomas Calvot, specialist in the care management of earthquake victims at Handicap International, said: "It is vital that amputees and patients with other injuries are followed up immediately after their amputation or surgery, in order to avoid further complications or permanently disabling after-effects.
"This is the cornerstone of Handicap International's activities during an emergency."
Handicap International now has six mobile teams providing first aid treatment and stabilising patients while they wait to get to hospitals.
A rehabilitation expert, two prosthetics and orthotics technicians, an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist arrived on Wednesday and more staff are on their way.
Post-operative care and rehabilitation activities will be starting this week. The first artificial limb fittings should start in six weeks, allowing time for limbs to heal after an amputation.
To support Handicap International's emergency work in Haiti, visit www.handicap-international.org.uk or call 0870 774 3737.