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Haiti - Epidemic : Nigel Fisher, make the point on the epidemic
15/11/2010 19:55:13

Haiti - Epidemic : Nigel Fisher, make the point on the epidemic
"The number of cases continues to grow rapidly, as expected," said Nigel Fisher, coordinator of the humanitarian action for the United Nations in Haiti during a videoconference with reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

"We have cases in all departments," said Fisher, "although the Haitian authorities this weekend said that only six of the ten departments have been affected by the disease," noting that "According to epidemiologists, the number of cases will increase significantly [...] it could last for years, here in Haiti, we are in an unknown land" he added.

"It is now an issue of national security" referring to the demonstration today in Cap Haitien against the establishment of Cholera Treatment Centers in the neighborhoods of the city. "The population fears that it is a threat for their health". According to information reported, the demonstrators were injured during this event, by elements of the Departmental Unit for Maintenance of Order (UDMO) of the Police Nationale d'Haiti (PNH) who allegedly opened fire in the direction of a group of demonstrators. In retaliation, the demonstrators set fire to two sub-Police station.

"The communications strategy is broadening, not just with information about how people can protect themselves through better hygiene but also examples as to how a cholera treatment centre in your locality is actually an advantage and is not a threat to your health."

More alarmingly, the coordinator of humanitarian action for the United Nations, said that cases of cholera were reported in the Department of Health and in hospitals . Specifying that the Haitian government, must now treat new aspects of the epidemic, such as the management of the people deceased of the cholera, the transport of their body and the transport of the sick people towards sites of treatment, potential sources of infections. Adding that to date no cases of cholera had been reported in refugee camps or living close to 1.5 million people. Failing to refer to suspected cases being confirmed among others in the camp of the Champs de Mars... Government authorities are concerned for their part, that the epidemic reaches the unhealthy camps where refugees are crammed...

According to UN estimates, up to 200,000 people could be infected by cholera. The UN has appealed for emergency funds amounting to $ 163.8 million to "We absolutely need this money as soon as possible to avoid being overwhelmed by this epidemic," said recently, Elizabeth Byrs, spokesperson of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In the immediate future, the Haitian authorities are worried above all by the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held next November 28.

Despite the health crisis, the candidates do not agree to postpone elections. "It is unreasonable to think of a postponement," said Mirlande Manigat, the favorite in the polls, while acknowledging that "the context is not conducive to elections." Leslie Voltaire, who said last month "Elections must take place, but for us the most important thing is that people continue to live [...] I think if the epidemic spreads, it will defer elections in my country because it is the best choice," changes his mind and now opposes a postponement of the ballot that would cause, he said the establishment of an interim government, which would cause a serious political crisis over the health crisis...

Francis Servranckx, of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said about, that his organization was currently able to handle the situation and deal "But nevertheless, I fear that too a large number of patients exceeds our capacities".

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