A WHO spokesman said the World Health Organization is setting up tents to treat cholera in Haiti and will also request supplies of oral vaccines against the disease, which unexpectedly returned to the country paralyzed by a gang blockade Is.
The disease, which killed nearly 10,000 people through the 2010 outbreak, has been blamed on United Nations peacekeeping forces stationed in Haiti. The United Nations apologized for the outbreak in 2016 without any responsibility. The last case came to the fore three years ago.
The Caribbean country has so far reported at least seven deaths and the WHO has warned that some early cases may go undetected, with more expected to emerge.
“It is very important to get assistance on the ground as quickly as possible,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said at a Geneva press briefing on Tuesday. He described a “difficult cocktail” of circumstances surrounding the spread of the disease, including cases in gang-controlled areas where access to testing or treatment is severely hampered.
“With the humanitarian situation and sanitation conditions in place, and gang controlled areas with hardly any access to control, test or bring in aid, we should unfortunately expect more cases to rise and fall.”
Lindmayer said that already, some hospitals are beginning to close due to lack of access to fuel and staff.
He said WHO and allies are setting up cholera treatment centers in tents and supplying them with medicines and equipment.
It was not immediately clear how cholera returned to Haiti.
The site of the outbreak, a poor area called Kait Soleil outside the capital, saw a bloody turf war in July that left some residents trapped without access to food and water. Clean water is essential to prevent the spread of cholera.
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Controlling the outbreak will depend on ending the gang blockade, the UN’s deputy special representative, resident coordinator and unified office of Haiti’s humanitarian coordinator said in a statement.
“If fuel is not released immediately for humanitarian purposes, the response to this crisis will be limited and the impact of the outbreak will intensify,” it said.
“Access to Kite Soleil, where the first case was reported, has been closed to UN and international actors for several weeks.”
The Varreux fuel terminal, whose entrance remains blocked by trenches and shipping containers, called on Twitter for a deal to build a humanitarian corridor “to allow supply of hospitals, water treatment centers and telecommunications”.