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As a deadly cholera outbreak spreads among some of Haiti’s most vulnerable communities, AmeriCares has landed an emergency airlift of critical aid filled with medicines and medical supplies. The airlift is in addition to lifesaving cholera relief supplies already delivered in recent days.
“Given the severity of the cholera outbreak and the concern that it could result in a growing number of cases, AmeriCares quickly assembled and rushed an airlift to Haiti to meet acute needs for more people stricken with the deadly disease,” said Christoph Gorder, AmeriCares SVP of Global Programs. “Essential medicines and supplies in the emergency shipment were successfully unloaded and delivered by our Haiti team to our Port-au-Prince warehouse for distribution to our partners; supplies included IV solutions, infection control items, antibiotics and rehydration fluids specially formulated for afflicted children.”
In a country plagued by tragedy, more than 330 people have died and over 4,700 people have been hospitalized due to the outbreak. Concentrated in Haiti’s Artibonite region, north of Port-au-Prince, health officials are on high alert and are working hard to stop the disease that spreads through water and food contaminated by human waste. Several people in Port-au-Prince have been diagnosed, but it is suspected they were exposed to cholera in the Artibonite. They have been isolated and are being closely monitored.
“People infected with cholera can rapidly lose body fluids and become dangerously dehydrated,” said Dr. Frank Bia, AmeriCares Medical Director and expert in infectious diseases. “Without treatment, people can go into shock from low blood pressure or die. In the most severe cases, patients may die within hours of becoming infected.”
When news of the outbreak first emerged, AmeriCares began delivering critical medical aid to combat cholera to healthcare providers on the front lines in the Artibonite valley and Port-au-Prince within 24 hours. As part of AmeriCares emergency preparedness plans in Haiti, oral and IV rehydration solutions, antibiotics and other essential medical supplies were already in our Port-au-Prince warehouse.
AmeriCares’ airlift arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on the morning of October 30, 2010
AmeriCares will also send a sea shipment to provide additional needed items for the cholera epidemic should the epidemic spread and worsen and to replenish emergency supplies.
AmeriCares has already delivered over $30 million in aid to Haiti to help survivors of the devastating January 2010 earthquake. AmeriCares has been working in Haiti since 1984, delivering medicines and supplies to health care providers throughout the country. Those deep roots have enabled our emergency response team to navigate the challenging environment and overcome transportation issues in order to increase access to medicines for the Haitian people in both rural and urban areas.