Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CRS Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

Catholic Relief Services reports:
A cholera outbreak in central Haiti has left 250 people dead and more than 3,000 ill. Haitian president Rene Preval confirmed the outbreak on Friday, October 22, after first reports of the illness and deaths were made in St. Marc in the southern Artibonite department, the center of the Cholera spate about 60-miles northwest of Port-au-Prince.

Health officials now fear the spread of the disease to the camps of Port-au-Prince, where more than one million displaced people still live. Poor sanitation and hygiene in the settlements make people there particularly vulnerable to the disease, which causes diarrhea and vomiting so severe that it can kill a person within hours. The Associated Press stated that five cholera patients have been reported in Haiti’s capital, but government officials said Sunday that all five apparently contracted cholera outside Port-au-Prince.

Catholic Relief Services mobilized a massive response just 1 day after the cholera outbreak was confirmed. CRS and partner staff went tent to tent in 12 camps in Port-au-Prince, distributing three bars of soap each to more than 10,000 families (more than 50,000 people) and reaching as many people through an information campaign (simple flyers in Creole) that promotes hand washing and personal hygiene.

CRS’ health team, with colleagues from the University of Maryland, has also been working to help 7 CRS supported hospitals around the country prepare to respond to a possible influx of cholera patients.
You can learn more here.

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