Haiti - With several new outbreaks of cholera recorded by Haiti's national alert since the passage of Hurricane Sandy, the number of confirmed cases stands at 3,593.
The Haitian Ministry of Health has also confirmed an upsurge of suspected cholera cases; a total of 837 suspected cases in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan areas and the Upper Artibonite region.
IOM has responded to this alert with the provision of 9,979 cholera kits containing Oral Rehydration Salts, aquatabs and chlorine, which were distributed this week in 31 camps in the metropolitan area and other regions.
One recent surge of suspected cases was in Camp Bobin in Peguyville/Petioville Commune of Port-au-Prince with a total of 40 suspected cholera cases reported between 25 October and 4 November. IOM health staff collaborated with the Ministry of Health and PAHO/WHO by providing a large tent to set up an Oral Rehydration Post, awareness raising activities, and the distribution of cholera kits to 550 families.
According to Kristin Parco, IOM Health Programme Manager, "The IOM health team continues the surveillance, monitoring and case management of suspected cholera cases, as well as awareness sessions twice a week in camps and distributions according to the needs. The needs are still vast in terms of support to the Government of Haiti in responding to cholera."
"Heavy flooding in the north of the country in early November, and unrelated to Hurricane Sandy, highlights once again the urgent need to support disaster mitigation, evacuation shelters, resilience-building activities for the population and other disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness programmes," cautions Gregoire Goodstein, IOM Chief of Mission in Haiti.
As environmental conditions in Haiti continue to deteriorate, future disasters will continue to disproportionally affect the country including further loss of human life, property and livelihoods, and, as with Sandy, cause new internal displacement in a country which still has some 370,000 persons in camps since the January 2010 earthquake.
In response to the recent flooding in Cap Haitien and other regions in the north, that left the departmental Hospital (Justinian Hospital), private clinics and three Cholera Treatment Centres flooded, IOM assisted the government and PAHO/WHO to respond to a potential cholera outbreak in the region with cholera kits and medical items.
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