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A Haitian resident suffering from cholera waits for medical treatment at a local hospital in the town of Saint Marc. Credit REUTERS/ St-Felix Evens Credits: Credit REUTERS/ St-Felix Evens

A Haitian resident suffering from cholera waits for medical treatment at a local hospital in the town of Saint Marc. Credit REUTERS/ St-Felix Evens
Credits: Credit REUTERS/ St-Felix Evens

Preventing the spread of cholera in earthquake-wracked Haiti remains a chief concern for Caritas.

New cases of the waterborne disease continue to be reported in much of the country, including the centre, north and northwest, and west. Cholera prevention and hygiene promotion are ongoing throughout the capital Port-au-Prince and in all the affected communities.

Haiti is struggling to rebuild after an earthquake 12 January destroyed much of its health and water infrastructure, as well as leaving over a million people homeless and in tents.

Over 500 people have died of cholera as of 8 November and several thousand have been hospitalized.

Hurricane Tomas clipped Haiti 5 November, bringing torrential rain and flooding in western Haiti, adding to the humanitarian challenge. Caritas assessment teams in  Gonaives have reported damage to buildings, including the Caritas office and a health centre and other Church buildings. Caritas has evacuated some 100 children and distributed tarpaulins.

Seven dead bodies with cholera were found on the streets.

Emergency Response Team Coordinator Dolores Halpin-Bachmann said en route to Haiti, “The recent cholera epidemic has used up much of our humanitarian reserves. There are gaps in health, shelter, clean water, and other key areas. Hurricane Tomas has made the situation worse. Caritas is exploring bringing in further aid by airlift from outside Haiti.”

In Gonaives, Caritas members in Haiti are installing water purification machines.  The response there also includes providing 84,000 aqua-tabs, over 600 jerry cans , and 600 hygiene kits.

Four Caritas health centres in Gonaives have also been given an additional 1,5000 bars of soap, 200 hygiene kits, and constructed 160 beds appropriate for cholera cases.

In Port-au-Prince, aqua-tabs and soap  have been given to 1,6333 families, hand washing stations set up in seven camps, and public awareness campaigns run on the importance of good hygiene in preventing the spread of cholera.