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UK tackles threat of major cholera spike in the wake of Hurricane Matthew

(Internews is part of the support effort in Haiti described in this article from the UK Government.)

The International Development Secretary Priti Patel has committed new support to tackle the threat of cholera in Haiti, ensuring more lives can be saved in the wake of the devastating hurricane.

In addition, as the leading funder to Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance, DFID is supporting the immediate shipment of one million doses of the cholera vaccine to Haiti.

The UK is also leading the way in calling on other donors to step up their response to the hurricane. The Secretary of State will this week urge key international allies to support a more coordinated, more urgent and more effective response.

This comes as Britain provides more life-saving aid for thousands of people, including safe drinking water, hygiene kits and tools to repair homes. The UK is already partnering with the UN, The International Federation of the Red Cross through the British Red Cross Society, CARE International, Action Aid, Internews and MapAction to help those affected by the disaster.

The additional £3 million package to tackle the cholera threat announced today brings the UK contribution to the Haiti crisis to £8 million.

UK funding will enable:

  • UNICEF to assist the cholera response in Haiti by providing 110,000 people with water, sanitation and healthcare as well as providing emergency protection for 5,000 children;
  • The Red Cross to reach 50,000 of the most vulnerable people with access to water, sanitation and shelter;
  • CARE International to ensure 8000 people have access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation while 15,000 people will receive hygiene education and training. Additionally, 1750 of the most vulnerable families will be supported to repair and rebuild their homes, 3000 families will be given the chance to earn an alternative living and 10 of the worst affected communities will be helped with protection and psychosocial support, ensuring the well-being of vulnerable groups;
  • Action Aid to provide 18,000 people with hygiene kits, 6,000 people with shelter repair and 24,000 women with protection support;
  • MapAction to support humanitarian workers by pinpointing who is doing what where in order to identify the most effective way of reaching those most in need;
  • Internews to restore radio communication and assist national and local government in broadcasting vital information to affected communities.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

As the death toll rises and the scale of this devastating hurricane becomes evident, the UK is continuing to do everything it can to help all those affected by this tragedy. With the threat of a major cholera spike growing, Global Britain will play its part to ensure expertise and support can make a real difference to people in urgent need.

The UK is providing support to our trusted partners already working on the ground, enabling them to provide shelter, water, hygiene kits and protection and help reduce suffering in the wake of Hurricane Matthew’s destruction.

UK aid arriving in Haiti includes shelter kits for 5,000 people, as well as temporary shelters, equipment to purify and carry safe drinking water, and solar lights to reach 12,500 of the most vulnerable people, including women and children.

A team of DFID experts are in the region helping NGO and UN partners address immediate needs, including water, healthcare, shelter and protection.

The latest UK support is in addition to ongoing work DFID has been undertaking in Haiti to better prepare the country for natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew.

Working with the World Food Programme and UNICEF, the UK:

  • pre-positioned life-saving stocks such as hygiene kits, home water treatment facilities and mosquito nets that could quickly reach 10,000 of the most vulnerable people;
  • ensured trucks were ready to be swiftly deployed to carry water, emergency toilets, and sanitation facilities to the most affected areas;
  • prepared IT emergency kits that keep vital communication lines working through emergencies; and
  • supported UNICEF to provide a first delivery of humanitarian supplies to the most affected zones, including support to protection, health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene.

The UK has committed a total of £1.44 billion to Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance – over the period 2016-2020, and is its largest donor. Gavi will deliver the UK manifesto commitment to immunise 76 million children and save 1.4 million lives in this period.

DFID’s support forms part of the UK Government’s overall response to the hurricane alongside the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.