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Cholera outbreak in Haiti

Since the outbreak of cholera in Haiti, on 21 October 2010, national authorities and international partners have deployed all available means to take care of victims and contain the spread of the disease.

The Haitian Government, United Nations agencies and the humanitarian community are coordinating their response, providing treatment and putting preventive measures in place. Dozens of health partners are providing water-purification materials, carrying out large-scale public-information campaigns, and helping to build treatment centres. 

Mr. Ban spoke to the UN General Assembly on 3 December, asking for a greater humanitarian response.

MINUSTAH has mobilized all of its logistical resources to assist in this effort:

Six peacekeepers carrying gallons of water, walking down a street
Argentinean peacekeepers carry containers of water into the town of Grande Saline in Haiti. UN Photo
  • MINUSTAH has provided security and logistical support for the transport of supplies and personnel as well as static security in distribution centres;
  • In order to prevent the spread of cholera through contaminated water, MINUSTAH peacekeepers have distributed thousands of litres of potable water to health centres and affected communities on a daily basis;
  • In Leogane, MINUSTAH blue helmets have been using local radio stations and trucks carrying loud speakers, to educate local populations on how to prevent the spread of the disease;
  • Engineers from the Brazilian and Chilean contingents worked to level terrain for the Cholera Treatment Centres in the Central Department;
  • Bolivian blue helmets have installed some 20 tents each accommodating 250 persons as well as 48 latrines in Artibonite Department;
  • Blue helmets on the ground have assisted in transporting personnel and supplies to isolated and hard to reach areas. These operations are carried out by boat, helicopter and truck;
  • The region of Grande Saline in the Artibonite department was particularly hard hit by the epidemic and is only accessible by boat.  Peacekeepers from Uruguay transported fresh water bottles, soaps, water purification tablets and rehydration materials by boat. MINUSTAH also transported humanitarian professionals from NGOs and international organizations.

MINUSTAH has also assisted, along with United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)  in setting up coordination committees in the places not currently affected by the outbreak.  These committees, in places such as Leogane and Petit Goave, can be mobilized rapidly should the disease appear.

Independent panel established to determine the source

On 6 January 2011, the Secretary-General appointed an Independent Panel, consisting of four top international medical experts, to determine the source of the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

The report Avalaible in English was issued on 4 May 2011 and the Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to the Independent Panel of Experts, stating he will carefully consider its findings and recommendations. To that end, the Secretary-General intends to convene a task force within the UN system, to study the findings and to ensure prompt and appropriate follow-up.

UN Spokesperson comments in the news

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