PORT-AU-PRINCE – The cholera epidemic in Haiti has caused 1,034 deaths, while the number of people hospitalized stands at 16,799, health authorities said on Tuesday.
One province, Artibonite, accounts for more than 60 percent of the fatalities, while four of the remaining nine regions remain free of cholera so far, the health ministry said.
Ninety-five people have died in Ouest province, which includes the Haitian capital.
The U.N. said that the epidemic continues to spread, while the Spanish organization PLAN warned Tuesday that 7.5 million people living in rural zones are at high risk of contracting the disease.
People living in more isolated areas “do not have access to basic services and are especially threatened by the disease that has already taken hundreds of lives across the country,” the Spanish NGO emphasized in a communique.
But Haitian authorities’ biggest fear is that cholera will gain a foothold in Port-au-Prince, where hundreds of thousands of people have been living in refugee camps since the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed some 300,000 and left more than 1 million homeless.
The Spanish International Cooperation Agency, or AECID, on Tuesday sent to Haiti 14 tons of medicines to help deal with the cholera epidemic.
The plane carrying the supplies took off from Torrejon de Ardoz airbase in Madrid.
The shipment is in addition to the 10 tons of medical and sanitary materials that arrived in Port-au-Prince last week in response to the request for aid by the Haitian Health Ministry.
“The figures have shot up and we’re getting into the worst scenarios,” AECID humanitarian action director Pablo Yuste said, noting a U.N. forecast that predicted up to 200,000 cholera cases over the next four or five months.
Therefore, Yuste announced that AECID will send more shipments by boat, since this means of transport allows “more weight (to be sent) for less money, and a weekly shipment of (saline and other) solutions is forecast to be sent.” EFE