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Cholera emergency hits Haiti

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Cholera emergency hits Haiti


The interim president of Haiti has played down the international aid response to Hurricane Matthew.

Jocelerme Privert says some promised aid has yet to materialise and the devastated country is most funding its own recovery.

He says the priority is acting quickly to stem the spike of cholera. “We need to feed the people in shelters, we need to give them water to drink. We must give them medication to prevent the spread of cholera.”

Many without water and electricity

Many people in Haiti are still without water and electricity, despite efforts by the authorities to repair basic services.

The National Civil Protection headquarters in Port-au-Prince has raised the official nationwide death toll to 473.

But local officials fear the actual number is far greater.

Fears of a cholera spike

A cluster of more than 200 cases of cholera have been reported in Haiti since Hurricane Matthew.

An estimated 150 suspected cases have been reported in the department of Grande’Anse.

50 have been recorded in the South department.

The WHO says this is a “sharp increase in figures”.

WHO sending doses of vaccine

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is sending one million doses of cholera vaccine to Haiti.

It is aimed at preventing further transmission of the disease in the Caribbean country.

The peak period for tranmission is from November to January during the rainy season.

WHO to send a million doses of cholera vaccine to Haiti

What about those already affected?

They need treatment.

However, a quarter of the health centres in Haiti’s hard-hit southern region have been destroyed or seriously damaged, according to the WHO.


Cholera causes severe diarrhea and can kill within hours if it goes untreated.

It is spread through contaminated water and has a short incubation period, which leads to rapid outbreaks.

What is cholera and how can it be treated? Find out more here

Hurricane Matthew

Southwestern Haiti was smashed by the Category 4 hurricane on October the 4th.

It barreled through the southern coast of the poor island nationa, killing an estimated 1,000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands.

Farmers in southern rural areas have been the most acutely hit.

Six years ago, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake leveled much of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Reconstruction is still ongoing. Disillusionment about the involvement of the international community in the rebuilding effort still runs high.

What they are saying

“The top priority clearly for those people affected by the hurricane is to give them access to safe water. That is the only way we can control cholera,” – Dominique Legros, WHO cholera expert.

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