One week after Hurricane Matthew devastated the southwestern portion of Haiti, an estimated 1,000 deaths have been recorded and at least 1.4 million people are in need of emergency aid.
“Our field teams went to Jeremie and Les Cayes by air and report that the devastation is huge,” said Dr. Jean-Luc Poncelet, PAHO’s Representative in Haiti. “Many roads have been cut, most people have lost their homes and they need food, water, shelter and sanitation,” he said.
In addition, an uptick in cholera has already been seen in Grand’ Anse and Sud.
According to the most recent Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) situation report Monday evening, more than 200 cholera cases have been reported. “It is more than usual, I know it is a sharp increase compared to usual figures,” Dominique Legros, WHO cholera expert said.
In addition to providing clean water, the response to help the country control cholera includes 1 million doses of cholera vaccine from the WHO. This can cover from 500,000 to 1 million people depending on how it’s administered–the “classic” two-dose strategy, or a single dose campaign, which would be easier to implement and would cover more people.
LISTEN: Haiti, cholera and the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew – An interview with Dr John Carroll
In addition, two PAHO field offices were set up in Jérémie and in Les Cayes, both fully staffed with technical personnel and a ship from the Royal Netherlands Navy has arrived and is providing essential medicine to Haiti, and its crew is working to reestablish water and electricity as well as ensuring that the hospital is in sanitary working conditions.
UN health officials are also delivering medicines and supplies for cholera treatment as well as 70 cholera beds to Randel as some cholera treatment centers were destroyed or remain closed.
From October 2010 to date, Haiti reported more than 790,000 cases of cholera with more than 9,300 deaths. At its peak in 2011, cholera cases were reaching an average of 6,766 cases every week. Although new cholera cases and deaths continue to be reported in all 10 departments in Haiti, the number of cases was significantly lowered from over 300,000 in 2011 to about 36,000 in 2015 thanks to intensified prevention and control efforts from national and international actors.
Already in 2016,an average of 771 new cases of cholera is being reported every week, with 28,559 total cases reported through mid-September, before the hurricane struck.
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