Action Against Hunger Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

ACF rushes to contain crisis in hard-hit areas as illness threatens thousands of lives
©REUTERS/St-Felix Evans, courtesy

ARTIBONITE, HAITI—Action Against Hunger | ACF International has launched an emergency response to contain cholera in Artibonite, the epicenter of an epidemic that has thus far killed over 250 people and caused at least 3,000 more reported cases, and to prevent its spread in the capital of Port-au-Prince. The deadly water-borne illness resurfaced in Haiti last week for the first time in over a hundred years.

Action Against Hunger has launched a massive operation in the Artibonite department to provide 100,000 people with access to clean water and emergency hygiene through distributions of water treatment tablets, soap, and rehydration packets. Along with the distributions, ACF is engaging in a broad public awareness campaign to disseminate basic public health information, including on the importance of hand-washing and preparing food with chlorinated water, to control this highly contagious disease.

In Gonaives, the capital of Artibonite, Action Against Hunger is distributing chlorine to hospitals and health centers to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading among vulnerable populations. The organization, in close coordination with local authorities and other humanitarian actors in the area, is also working to support the establishment of special cholera treatment centers.

In addition, Action Against Hunger is focused on preventing the spread of cholera to Port-au-Prince, where hundreds of thousands of people still remain in makeshift camps following the earthquake.

"We are currently distributing clean water every day to over 300,000 people in Port-au-Prince,” said Pierre Tripon, Action Against Hunger’s Country Director in Haiti. “Following the cholera outbreak, we have increased the level of chlorine in the water supplied and increased our hygiene promotion activities. There is a lack of knowledge about the disease because there has not been an outbreak for more than a century.”

Action Against Hunger has implemented programs in Haiti since 1985, carrying out emergency measures in the areas of health and nutrition. Since 2001, ACF has focused primarily on food security and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs in both emergency and development contexts in Port de Paix, Gonaives, Anse Rouge and Jeremiah. Since the January 12th earthquake, Action Against Hunger has assisted over 800,000 people in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.