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Cholera strikes Haiti again

Photo: Cinta Pluma/Oxfam

Now that our experts have assessed the extent of Haiti’s latest cholera outbreak, we are stepping up our work in the Carrefour neighborhood of Port-au-Prince to stop the spread of the disease in the area.

Working in coordination with local authorities and other international aid organisations operating in Carrefour, Oxfam will reach an extra 70,000 people. Right now, our priorities are:

  • distributing aquatablets to purify water
  • disinfecting houses where cholera cases have been detected
  • massive public health promotion activities in Riviere Froide, an area of Carrefour.

This is in addition to the 77,000 people living in camps around Carrefour to whom Oxfam already provides vital sanitation services. This area is highly susceptible to cholera because it lacks even the most basic sanitation facilities and there is very little access to clean drinking water.

“We are talking about very congested areas where … there are very few latrines and little space available to construct them,” explains Roland Van Hauwermeiren, Oxfam’s Country Director in Haiti. “Oxfam can provide an emergency response to the cholera outbreak, but we need the national government, with the support of international community, to provide long-term sanitation facilities and access to drinking water both in rural and urban areas, otherwise outbreaks will continue.”

Scenes from L’Ouverture camp

In the camps, we have been organising the distribution of sanitary supplies with the help of camp committees, as they know the people living in the sites and the best way to go about it.

The pictures below are from the distribution in L’Ouverture, where 316 families have been living since the earthquake. The camp is installed in the courtyard of a public school, which means that students and displaced people share the space. Oxfam had already rehabilitated the existing latrines at the school, and built new ones and showers for the families living there, before this latest cholera outbreak. Until now, only three cases of infection have been registered in this camp.

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Read about what we did to help Haitians cope with the last cholera outbreak in late 2010.