PORT AU PRINCE/GENEVA, 16 November 2010 - UNICEF is mobilizing all its staff and resources in an effort to stem the spread of cholera in Haiti, and warned today that with 50 per cent of the population under 18 years, large numbers of children are affected.
"We are working closely with communities and our partners to contain the latest outbreaks of cholera. Our biggest fear is that it will spread through the rural and remote areas, Port au Prince slums and camps, as well as schools and residential care centers across the country where it will be difficult to fight the disease," said Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans, UNICEF Representative in Haiti.
From the beginning, UNICEF has been aware of the needs of rural communities and deployed emergency teams in these areas. UNICEF’s concern is to reach children living in remote areas and in the overpopulated slums of Port au Prince.
"We are reinforcing our operation with staff and resources, mobilizing our partners and readjusting our pre-positioning stocks to scale with the emergency and make sure we cover as much of the country as possible", said Gruloos-Ackermans.
To date, 14,642 cases have been reported with 917 deaths, a fatality rate of 3.8 per cent. Seven out of Haiti's ten departments have now been affected.
Since the beginning of the cholera outbreak, UNICEF has been distributing millions of aquatabs for water purification, thousands of bars of soap, and tons of chlorine for the cleaning of water systems in the capital and elsewhere. Hospitals and health centres in Port au Prince have received water and sanitation and health packages including chlorine and portable latrines.
UNICEF has assisted the World Health Organization and NGOs in setting up Cholera Treatment Centers in the capital and rural areas. Thousands of children and parents are being reached with hygiene promotion messages including radio awareness campaigns and posters.
UNICEF is working with the government and UN partners, including the World Food Program (WFP), to cover 5,000 schools with hygiene promotion, soap, access to safe water as well as the maintenance and improvement of sanitation. In addition, UNICEF is training teachers on hygiene promotion for 22,000 schools nationwide.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
UNICEF Country Office, Haiti
Jean Jacques Simon, Chief Communications
Cell: + 509-3702 3698
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York,
Tel + 1 212 326 7426 / Cell + 1 917 582 7546,
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