Resources for Haiti
Nov 24, 2010 – U.N. officials are calling for a much stronger international response to Haiti’s cholera outbreak after new estimates show the epidemic could affect as many as 400,000 people.
The U.N.’s humanitarian agency says the new estimate is twice what health officials had earlier projected for how far the outbreak could spread.
Health officials say the estimate is a worst-case scenario and could be avoided if prevention and treatment responses can reach enough people.
U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos called the estimate a wake-up call and said investment is needed in cholera prevention throughout Haiti along with more treatment centers and more health workers.
Earlier Tuesday, it was announced Amos would be visiting Haiti this week to review the humanitarian response to the cholera outbreak that has killed about 1,300 people.
Amos will be in the Caribbean nation for two days, meeting with government and U.N. officials as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations.
The visit comes as Haiti prepares for elections Sunday to elect a new president to replace Rene Preval, who cannot run again. Voters will also elect a 99-member lower house and 11 members of the 30-seat Senate.
The U.S. ambassador to Haiti, Kenneth Merten, urged Haitians to exercise their right to vote. Speaking to reporters via video conference from Port-au-Prince, Merten said the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, will help to provide security along with local police. He said thousands of electoral observers will monitor the polling.
Also Tuesday, the U.N. special envoy for Haiti, Edmond Mulet, told reporters via video conference that preliminary results of the vote would be available December 7 and that final official results would be announced December 20. Any runoff elections would be held January 16.
Besides the cholera epidemic, Haiti is still recovering from a January 12 earthquake which killed more than 200,000 people and left about one million others homeless. Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.
Nov 24, 2010 – On Tuesday, a leading health expert speculated that there could be as much as 200,000 cases of cholera in Haiti in the coming three months, for which there is an urgent need for more supplies so as to control the situation.
Jon Kim Andrus, Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said, “Cholera is virtually everywhere in the country. We need to plan for enough supplies to treat as many as 400,000 cholera cases occurring over the next 12 months”.
He added that the speculated cases are four times the number of cases that had already been faced by the country. He emphasized the urgency of taking action for half of those cases that could erupt in the coming three months.
COLUMBIA – A plastic tub filled with sand might be the answer to Haiti’s need for clean water, a Mid-Missouri missionary told KOMU 8 News Today on Wednesday.
Jeff Baker spent 10 days in Haiti following the earthquake last year, where he was introduced to the Biosand water filtration device — essentially a trash-can sized plastic tub filled with a mix of sand and gravel that makes water safe to drink.
“You could put raw sewage in there, and it would be safe to drink,” Baker says.
Clean drinking water has been in scarce supply in Haiti following the earthquake. The recent outbreak of cholera in the devastated island nation highlights this need for clean water, as the disease often spreads through contaminated food or water.
Baker says the devices cost roughly $34 apiece, and can provide clean water for a family of five for as long as 10 years.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Nov. 24 (UPI) — Haiti’s cholera epidemic is spreading twice as fast as estimated earlier and could see hundreds of thousands of new cases in coming months, an official said.
U.N. humanitarian coordinator Nigel Fisher told the BBC aid agencies must “ratchet up” their response and send additional medical staff.
“This epidemic is moving faster and we are in unknown territory in Haiti just because this is moving so fast,” Fisher said. “There is no immunity to it.”
He said more than 200,000 cases of cholera could be recorded in a three-month period rather than six months as initially estimated. The Haitian government says 1,415 people have died so far.
Fisher said the government must increase pressure on local authorities to open more treatment centers and burial sites.
The cholera epidemic has complicated preparations for elections scheduled for Sunday.
Dan Campbell, Web
Environmental Health at USAID
1611 North Kent St., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22209
Environmental Health at USAID: http://www.ehproject.org
Indoor Air Pollution Updates: http://iapnews.wordpress.com
Sanitation Updates: http://sanitationupdates.wordpress.com
Urban Health Updates: http://urbanhealthupdates.wordpress.com
Cholera Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/cholera-control
Household Water Treatment Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/household-water-treatment