One million cholera vaccines arrive in Haiti, UN says

UNITED NATIONS — One million cholera vaccines that the Global Taskforce on Cholera Control had decided to send to Haiti on Oct. 10 have arrived in the small island country, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here Tuesday, quoting the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Vaccination is expected to start early in the week of 31 October, or even the day before, in affected departments of Haiti, Sud and Grand Anse,” Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

“The objective of the campaign is to reduce the burden of cholera cases on health care facilities in departments affected by Hurricane Matthew and prevent cholera’s further spread,” he said.

The vaccines are used to quash new outbreaks before the peak transmission of cholera in the Caribbean country which is from November to January, during the rainy season.

Cholera is surging in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew fouled wells, flooded rivers and latrines and forced survivors to drink contaminated storm water — even in regions that have received some deliveries of emergency aid.

Hurricane Matthew killed more than 1,000 people in Haiti when it struck on Oct. 4, leaving more than 175,000 without homes, and over a million more struggling to survive in what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called “absolute devastation.”

Less than two weeks after the hurricane attack, at least 200 suspected new cases of cholera have been detected in the country, according to WHO.

Aid agencies fear that without a major effort by the international community, survivors of the storm will face a fresh outbreak of the disease. PNA/