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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Haiti : Taking precautions against a new flare-up of cholera

Operational update and media release from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with regards to the current situation of cholera in Haiti, excerpt :

" The cholera epidemic that has been ravaging the population of Haiti since October is subsiding at last. According to government figures, three persons are dying a day as opposed to 10 a day in January. Despite this improvement, the ICRC fears a resurgence of the disease. It is continuing to promote preventive action, particularly in places of detention and the impoverished neighbourhoods of Cité Soleil and Martissant. The following is a summary of the ICRC's work in Haiti in January through March.

Detainee-welfare activities

Delegates made repeated visits to people being held in regular places of detention and transit facilities in order to verify that they were being treated humanely.

The ICRC worked together with the detaining authorities to improve conditions, and supported their efforts to combat the cholera epidemic.

In the first three months of the year, delegates visited over 4,000 people held in 17 places of detention.


  • The ICRC treated 275 detainees for cholera. Six eventually died.

  • To ensure adequate treatment and follow-up of cholera cases in five places of detention particularly hard hit by the epidemic, the organization temporarily hired extra nurses locally to build up its medical capacity.

  • Delegates continued to show detainees the hygiene practices best suited to protecting them from cholera.

  • The ICRC regularly distributed medicines and other anti-cholera supplies in the places of detention affected.
Water and sanitation

In order to help prevent cholera, the ICRC regularly delivered hygiene and disinfection supplies to all places of detention visited by it. Depending on needs, it also provided them to other places of detention.

At the same time it pursued its efforts to bring about other improvements in the facilities used by detainees and improvements in conditions of detention generally."

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