PORT-AU-PRINCE - Thousands of children and their families are at risk of cholera in Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, warns Plan International.
There are already reports of a worsening epidemic, as it becomes increasingly difficult for people to access clean, safe drinking water.
The most powerful Caribbean storm in a decade, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti on October 4th with 145mph winds, torrential rain, and surging seas that caused widespread flooding. It tore down trees, ripped away rooftops and damaged roads and bridges that connect remote communities. Many remain cut off. Hundreds have died. Thousands have been displaced.
“In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, the most pressing needs of people in Haiti are for food and water,” said Marie Therese Frederique Jean Pierre – Country Director for Plan International in Haiti. “Access to clean water is extremely scarce, and families in remote areas are particularly badly affected because they rely on hand pumps or wells to get safe drinking water, which were badly damaged by the hurricane.
“Given this lack of drinkable water, the risk of diarrhea and cholera is extremely high. Children are especially vulnerable to these types of diseases, so we are particularly concerned for them.”
Plan International’s response will target 100,000 people – almost half of them children. Today will see the first distributions being made, with food and water, sleeping kits, hygiene kits, and housing materials being given to those most in need.
Ms. Jean Pierre added: “In the communities we’ve managed to reach so far we’ve already been reminding people of the need to carry out safe hygiene and water treatment practices, but it is extremely difficult when they have such limited resources. Their homes have been destroyed, their livelihoods ruined and it is incredibly hard for people to keep going. There are also still periods of rain, which are adding to the difficulties people are faced with.
“We will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and expand our humanitarian assistance in further areas if there are found to be large unmet needs.”
NOTE TO EDITORS: Plan International Country Director in Haiti, Marie Therese Frederique Jean Pierre and other spokespeople are available for media interviews.
- Plan International has been working in Haiti since 1973 with main focus on children. Core areas of activity include: healthcare, education, youth economic security, gender equality, child participation, and inclusion.
- The organization has also been supporting thousands of people affected by 2010 earthquake – many of whom still are living in temporary accommodation.
For more information or to donate, please visit: https://www.planusa.org/disaster-relief.
About Plan International USA
Plan International USA is part of the Plan International Federation. Plan is a child-centered development organization that believes in the promise and potential of children. For more than 75 years in over 50 developing countries, Plan has been breaking the cycle of child poverty. Everything Plan does – from strengthening health care systems to improving the quality of education, to advocating for increased protection and beyond – is built with, and owned by, the community. The result is a development approach designed to improve the lives of the youngest members of the community for the longest period of time. For more information, please visit http://www.PlanUSA.org.