UMCOR / News Room / News & Features / Archives 2010 / 1026 - ACT Alliance Responds to the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

UMCOR is working with our partners to address the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Gifts to support UMCOR's work in Haiti can be made at www.umcorhaiti.org. UMCOR is a member partner of the ACT Alliance who is taking preventative measures to manage the crisis through its network.

ACT Alliance Responds to the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

October 26, 2010—ACT Alliance has started activities to prevent the spread of the cholera outbreak identified in Artibonite and Central Departments of Haiti late last week and during the weekend. Preventive measures have been taken in project areas where ACT Alliance is working with the aim to prevent the infection spreading around the country, particularly to the capital Port au Prince and other metropolitan areas.

“The consequences of the epidemic reaching Port au Prince would be devastating. As a preventive measure, we have started the distribution of chlorine, aquatabs, jerry cans and buckets to the people still living in the camps in Petion Ville in greater Port au Prince area”, Country Representative Louis Dorvilier of ACT Alliance member the Lutheran World Federation says.

Distributions are accompanied by information campaigns telling people about cholera and how to respond to it if they think they are infected. Camp committees have been briefed and prepared so that they know how to act in case symptoms appear in the camps.

ACT Alliance member Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) with its partners is working in more than 20 camps and neighborhoods in Cite Soleil and Bel Air, also in the capital area, especially in water and sanitation. Together with its partners, NCA has intensified the support in water, sanitation and first and foremost hygiene promotion.

“In practice, this means that we have followed UN and government messages and increased the dose of chlorine from 0,5 mg to 1,0 mg for the water, latrines are cleaned 2-3 times per day and that partners and the local population are mobilized in active prevention campaigns . We are also adding more staff to support our response”, Sylvia Raulo, NCA’s Head of Mission, tells.

The most effective ways to prevent the disease spreading are basic hygiene practices, such as clean drinking water and active hand washing as well as cleanness of sanitation facilities. Key issues needed now are effective prevention and mitigation measures across the country, information sharing and active mobilization with the local people, and effective medical response.

In addition to the active response given in the communities, ACT Alliance members in Haiti have held meetings with partners and their staff to raise awareness of the cholera outbreak, stocked rehydration salts, antibiotics, water and hygiene items. Other items, such as water purification tablets, have been already ordered and will be distributed in camps and schools in the coming days and weeks as precaution measures. All efforts are being done in close cooperation and coordination with government of Haiti agencies working in health and water/sanitation, and the UN entities.

For further information of the overall ACT Alliance response:
Geneviève Cyvoct, Coordinator for the ACT Emergency Response in Haiti +509 3485 8698
Maria Halava, ACT Alliance Communications and Advocacy Advisor in Haiti +509 3900 5237