Haiti 2011

CERF allocates $10.3 million in response to a cholera outbreak in Haiti

10 January 2011: In response to the most severe cholera outbreak in the country’s history, CERF has allocated $10.3 million for humanitarian response in Haiti.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will use $2.8 million to protect people from cholera. Some $2.5 million has been allocated to the World Food Programme (WFP) for air services for humanitarian personnel, food, medicines, and other relief items. The International Organization of Migration (IOM) will receive $2 million for life-saving response to the disease outbreak in IDP camps and high-risk spontaneous sites. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will use $862,000 for emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene programmes for cholera preparedness and response. Some $816,000 has been allocated to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for life-saving information and mitigation works in camps and neighbourhoods affected by cholera. Some $513,000 has gone to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to activate communication networks for cholera prevention and support to food insecure people. Finally, UN-HABITAT will use $261,000 to support the establishment of community-based response to the cholera.

Since 19 October 2010, when the first suspected cases were reported in the Bas-Artibonite area, the epidemic has spread steadily all over the country. As of 30 November 2010, the Ministry of Health reported 1,882 deaths and 84,391 hospitalised cases of cholera.

This outbreak is made more complex by the humanitarian situation that resulted from the earthquake on 12 January 2010. The earthquake killed an estimated 230,000 people and injured 300,000. Nearly 1.5 million people were left homeless and moved into spontaneous settlement sites. As of today, more than a million are still leaving in IDP camps.

The structural poverty prevailing in the country also makes it extremely prone to a rapid spreading of the disease. The Haitian population has developed no natural immunity against cholera, and water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions for millions of Haitian living in informal settlements are extremely poor. The lack of knowledge and awareness of cholera favours inappropriate behaviours about the disease and fears are aggravated by traditional beliefs. Delivery and access to basic health services is extremely poor in Haiti as well as institutional knowledge and capacity of the government.

CERF in Action - Rapid Response