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More than half a million Haitian children at risk from waterborne diseases

UNICEF raises its request for aid after the earthquake to € 61.7 million

Some 540,000 children affected by the earthquake that struck southwestern Haiti on August 14 are at risk of suffering from a water-borne disease, for example cholera, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). which has raised its request for funds to 61.7 million euros after the earthquake.

The lack of drinking water and sanitation and hygiene facilities threatens to provoke a new emergency in Haiti, where it is feared that respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases or malaria, among other theoretically preventable diseases, will now rebound.

Haiti has not registered any case of cholera since February 2019, but the representative of UNICEF in the Caribbean country, Bruno Baes, has warned in a statement that, “without urgent and firmer action, the reappearance of cholera and other diseases transmitted by water is a real threat that is increasing day by day “.

Even before the earthquake, which left more than 2,000 dead, only half of the sanitary facilities in the three most affected departments had basic access to water services. After the earthquake, almost 60 percent of the people who live in these departments lack access to drinking water, with a particularly dramatic situation for those who have been left homeless.

UNICEF collaborates with the National Directorate of Water and Sanitation (DINEPA) and other civil society partners, in some work that has already made it possible to bring drinking water to 73,600 people, and distribute hygiene kits to 35,200, among other emergency actions.

The agency had initially requested 15 million dollars to reinforce its deployment after the earthquake, but this Friday it raised the figure to 73.3 million dollars (61.7 million euros). For now, you have received less than 1 percent of this amount.

UNICEF has expressed concern about the problems that insecurity causes in Haiti for the delivery of aid, given that the earthquake has only aggravated an already difficult situation. For this reason, he has asked the local authorities for safe conditions.

Maes has confirmed temporary suspensions in the distribution of hygiene items “due to tense situations on the ground.” “Along with financial constraints, insecurity is currently slowing down our life-saving operations on the ground,” he lamented.

“Our efforts to provide more clean water do not meet the dire needs of all affected areas. Impatience, and sometimes frustration, is increasing in some Haitian communities, and it is understandable. But making relief operations more difficult will not help,” has pointed out.

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