Now that Cholera has spread to the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti the American Red Cross faces new challenges in aiding the Haitian people. Many Haitians are extremely vulnerable to the disease because of the close living quarters they have faced since the massive earthquake that struck the region last January. The Cholera outbreak originated in Haiti’s rural Artibonite and Central Plateau regions north of Port-au-Prince. It is suspected that flooding and rains from Hurricane Tomas have spread the disease toward the city of Port-au-prince. The disease’s symptoms include fever and diarrhea.
What is the Red Cross Doing?
To combat this epidemic, the Red Cross global network has established a cholera treatment center in Arcahie, northwest of Port-au-Prince, to respond to the growing epidemic that threatens millions of Haitians, and plans two additional cholera treatment centers in other parts of the country.
Since the earthquake, the global Red Cross Network has provided:
- Transitional homes for 150,000 people
- Cash grants and microloans to help nearly 210,000 people with basic needs and to invest in small businesses
- Clean drinking water for 280,000 people each day
- Disaster preparedness activities to protect 500,000 people
- Medical care and/or health education for 435,000 people
- Emergency shelter materials for 625,000 people
- Latrines for 238,000 people
- Emergency supplies for 125,000 people for use during hurricane season
The American Red Cross currently has 24 international staff and more than 330 Haitian staff and paid workers at our headquarters in Port-au-Prince. These forces have been working for months to educate the camp populations about health and good hygiene, and have further ramped up those efforts with the cholera outbreak. Health promotion teams have temporarily doubled in size, to about 200 promoters, and the Red Cross expects to directly reach hundreds of thousands of people with cholera prevention messages within a month.
These face-to-face interactions have been reinforced by millions of text messages sent to about 380,000 cell phone users by the Red Cross network, as well as radio broadcasts. The Red Cross network has also been distributing more than 660,000 gallons of clean water across Port-au-Prince every day for months.
The Red Cross will remain in Haiti, fighting cholera, strengthening communities, and helping to rebuild as long as it takes. Check out the National Website for more information on the many ways you can help Haitians affected.