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Haiti combats cholera outbreak

In response to the emergency caused by an outbreak of cholera, Haiti’s water regulating agency DINEPA, in coordination with the Haitian Ministry of Public Health, will distribute millions of water purifying tablets and other inputs to contain the disease.

DINEPA requested assistance from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Spanish foreign aid agency AECID after the first cases of cholera were detected last week in the Artibonite valley, north of Port-au-Prince.

DINEPA is buying several tons of chlorine tablets in Haiti and the Dominican Republic with resources provided by the IDB and AECID. With the Spanish Red Cross’ assistance, it is shipping one ton of tablets to the city of Saint Marc, where most of the victims are being treated. Another ton is being sent to Port-au-Prince.

Under a plan coordinated by the Haitian Ministry of Public Health, DINEPA is working with Saint Marc’s municipal water utility, SESAM, to distribute treated water, tablets and soap, along with information on hygienic practices to avoid contagion from cholera.

As a preventive measure, SESAM is boosting the chlorination of the water source used in Saint Marc and recommending local residents to only drink properly boiled or disinfected water. The utility is also distributing treated water by truck.

Immediately after the January 12 earthquake the IDB and AECID, through the Spanish Fund for Cooperation on Water and Sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean, provided resources to DINEPA to supply purified water in tent camps in Port-au-Prince and other affected cities.

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