HAVANA – The Cuban government is set to dispatch a health brigade to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc in the country, claiming more than 800 lives so far.
The health brigade traveling to Haiti on Saturday is comprised of 38 professionals, who will work in tandem with the 600-plus other Cuban health workers based in Haiti for years.
The team is part of the international contingent of specialized doctors called the Henry Reeve Brigade, created in 2005 with a mission to help other countries fight disasters and serious epidemics.
In recent years, the Cuban brigade has helped the World Health Organization to combat the Ebola virus epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Conakry, the three worst-affected West African countries.
Earlier, the contingent brigades also helped affected people on the island of Dominica, battered by tropical storm Erika in August 2015 and aided victims of the Ecuadorean earthquake in April this year.
The Pan American Health Organization said Friday that around 350,000 people currently need medical aid in Haiti, and a significant rise in cholera cases is expected following Hurricane Matthew’s devastating passage.
The United States Pentagon on Saturday deployed an amphibious assault ship with 300 marines on board to rescue and help reconstruct the country, also assigning helicopter and military aircraft to support reconnaissance teams on the ground.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter has approved a fund of 11 million dollars for the missions in Haiti, where at least 820 people, mostly in the southwestern region, have died in the worst natural calamity since the 2010 earthquake that killed around 300,000.