Posted by hougansydney.com on Friday, November 4, 2016 Under: Human Rights
The UN Fund for Children ( UNICEF ) reported today that many children continue to suffer from a precarious situation in Haiti one month after Hurricane Matthew devastated the country.
The storm left about 550 dead and more than one million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
UNICEF is launching a vaccination campaign to immunize 900,000 people against cholera, taking into account water pollution caused by the storm, the epidemic could intensify.
Radio UN spoke with the representative of UNICEF in Haiti, Marc Vincent.
"...there has been progress, but there are still many things to do. We hope to provide assistance to half a million children who have suffered grievously from hurricane. We must ensure they have access to health services, education, clean water. The scale of this disaster means that we will have much work ahead, over the next year or the next 18 months ," he said.
Vincent was able to observe first hand the scale of the disaster and has met with many affected children.
" I reached the area three days after the passage of Matthew. I must say I was extremely shocked by the scale of destruction. I have worked in conflict zones, but no previous experience prepared me for what I saw there. For children the impact has been enormous and will continue to be traumatic. Just imagine being a child and see that your family has lost their home, all animals, all their crops, your school has been completely destroyed or which has been converted into a temporary shelter. Our immediate goal is to get as many as possible can return to school and ensure they have access to potable water, or get them out of temporary shelters and they can return to their homes ," he said.
The UNICEF representative in Haiti said the desperate situation in which many people live will continue in the near future although undoubtedly many are face with optimism.
He said that the resilience of Haitians is admirable and highlighted that he has seen people embroiled in rebuilding their homes just days past the cyclone.
About the danger of increased contagion of cholera, Vincent said there have been in areas affected about 3,000 suspected cases.
" a thousand of them are children under 18 years. The cholera epidemic in Haiti is something we face since 2010. Since then there have been about 800,000 cases and 9,300 deaths. The concern now is to do the maximum to distribute clean water to prevent transmission of the disease in the affected areas and provide access to treatment centers , " said Vincent.
In that sense, he explained that the Fund works with several humanitarian agencies in the rehabilitation of about 1,800 centers treating cholera that were completely destroyed by the hurricane and hoped that with the launch of the vaccination campaign next week, another mechanism will be established to control the situation.
"Our greatest fear is that the disease comes to Port au Prince because that could lead to the same situation at the end of 2014, when a massive outbreak in Martissant, one of the most vulnerable areas of the city was reported. That outbreak caused the spread of cholera to the rest of the country. So we are making a great effort in the departments most affected by the hurricane ," said Vincent.
In : Human Rights