Ireland pledges more Haiti funds

 

The Government today pledged €500,000 and an emergency shipment of humanitarian supplies to hurricane-hit Haiti.

The aid will support thousands of people left without shelter and help fight the cholera epidemic which is sweeping the Caribbean country.

Health workers on the ground fear the recent heavy rains are exacerbating the country’s cholera outbreak, which has killed at least 900 people.

Minister for Overseas Development Peter Power said he ordered the transport of 40 metric tonnes of tents and tarpaulins from stocks in Panama. They will be distributed on the ground by Concern and the International Organisation for Migration.

The funding, donated by taxpayers through Irish Aid, will be given to Plan Ireland and Goal to support the provision of clean water, sanitation and hygiene equipment to those who were left homeless by January’s earthquake.

The shipment and the additional donation brings the total amount allocated by the Government to €7.6 million to the earthquake of January 12th, which left 230,000 dead and over one million homeless. It is due is due to leave Panama this evening and arrive in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday.

Haiti's health ministry said the death toll from the cholera epidemic has reached more than 900 and the disease is present in six of the 10 provinces of the  country.

The ministry website said that, as of Friday, there had been 917 deaths and more than 14,600 hospitalised cases since the outbreak began more than three weeks ago in the Western Hemisphere's poorest state.

The central rural province of Artibonite, the epicentre of the epidemic, remained the worst affected, accounting for nearly 600 of the total deaths. Other provinces affected were Centre, Nord, Nord Ouest, Sud, and Ouest, where the capital Port-au-Prince is located.

The capital, which bore the brunt of destruction from the January 12th earthquake in Haiti, has recorded 27 deaths. The government and its aid partners are fighting to prevent the disease spreading in crowded city slums and tent camps housing over 1.3 million homeless earthquake survivors.

The United Nations forecasts up to 200,000 Haitians could contract cholera as the outbreak extends across the country of nearly 10 million, and says $163.9 million in aid is needed over the next year to combat the epidemic.

Despite the cholera outbreak, which has stretched relief agencies and complicated the faltering UN-led recovery following the earthquake, presidential and legislative elections are scheduled to go ahead as planned on November 28th.