Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Health conditions worsen as aid trickles into remote Haiti

A swift water rescue team transports a resident of to safety on a street covered with floodwaters caused by rain from Hurricane Matthew in Lumberton N.C. Monday Oct. 10 2016 Triad Man Dealing With Flooding At New Lumberton Dealership
Howard Terry | 12 October, 2016, 03:03

"The top priority clearly for those people affected by the hurricane is to give them access to safe water, that is the only way we can control cholera in the long term in Haiti", he said.

"Some towns and villages have been nearly wiped off the map", UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters.

Officials say desperation is growing in some communities and young men in villages along the road between Les Cayes and Jeremie are blocking convoys of vehicles bringing relief supplies, the Associated Press reported. He also said that the toll will only climb as rescue workers reach more remote areas.

He argued the Haitian government should now control and subsidise the prices of such materials, to help as many people as possible to fix their homes, where fix is even possible. Local officials have said the toll tops 500 in Grand-Anse alone.

Haiti is also grappling with a worsening cholera outbreak in the storm-hit areas.

Survivors of Hurricane Matthew put on their Sunday finest and picked their way through downed power lines to sing praise and pray in ruined churches, while desperation grew in other parts of devastated Haiti and worldwide rescue efforts began ramping up. The UN said it arrived at the figure by factoring in the needs of vulnerable groups as well as the capacity of the country's government and aid organisations already on the scene. Over the next week, partners will develop individual projects in support of sector activities and financial requirements identified in this appeal, adapting the response to the most up-to-date assessment results.

WHO cholera expert Dominique Legros told reporters in Geneva that the UN's global public health body had decided Monday to send the vaccines to the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean nation, to attempt to prevent an outbreak of the waterborne disease.

However, Haiti's Civil Protection Agency reported that 336 people had died. He is due to present a new response to cholera in Haiti this month.

"There is a lot of water around but it is not drinkable because animals have died in it, and so on. I've been working for the last three days straight", he said in the fierce morning sun.

"In 2010, before the natural disaster, we had a growth rate of 5.7 percent", said Jude Celestin, a presidential candidate who toured the devastated area Sunday afternoon.

The DPC on Tuesday in Port-au-Prince, during its updated assessment of the damage, said that four people were still missing and 246 others sustained injuries. Diarrhea is one of the main killers of children under 5 in the country, UNICEF said.

The Haitian Health Foundation also is anxious about a potential sharp increase in cholera cases. That is shameful. With having more than 27,000 suspected cases of the disease, it is estimated that one of three children are among this number, according to UNICEF. Right now, 1 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance. In June and July of this year alone, the agency responded to more than 1,000 cholera alerts in all 10 departments of the country, benefiting about 8,000 households.

Humanitarian needs include access to a sufficient supply of quality water, education, shelter, child protection, health and nutrition.

If aid is only delivered to cities such as Jeremie and Les Cayes, villagers will flock there for supplies and never leave, leading to overcrowding.

In the midst of the crisis, pregnant women are also among some of the most vulnerable, the United Nations says.

The UN has launched an emergency appeal for almost $120m (£97m) in aid to cover the next three months.

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