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Confronting the cholera crisis in Haiti

 Round-the-Clock Campaign Aims to Stop the Disease from Spreading to Crowded Camps

Minneapolis, MN (October 25, 2010) —

More than 250 people have died after a cholera outbreak struck central Haiti.  American Refugee Committee relief teams are working around-the-clock to make sure that the disease does not spread to the nearly 1.3 million people living in more densely populated camps in Port-au-Prince.

“For many months we have been conducting campaigns to promote safe hygiene practices and to stop the spread of disease in the four main camps where we are working,” said Daniel Wordsworth, President of the American Refugee Committee.  “Cholera has been slow to spread into the camps—but the situation remains serious, and we are preparing for the worst.  We are working closely with the Haitian people to prevent wider outbreaks of the disease.”

The team is distributing soap to the thousands of families living in camps and transmitting cholera prevention messages via megaphones and tent-to-tent visits.  They are distributing water purification tablets to ensure clean water.  And the team is also setting up cholera treatment units to treat people who contract the disease.  

Cholera is spread through contaminated water.  Crowded living conditions and poor sanitation can lead to a rapid spread of the disease.   Most people who contract the disease can recover if they receive enough fluid and nutrients.

“The people of Port-au-Prince have lost everything,” said Wordsworth.  “They are incredibly resilient.  We will continue to partner with them to confront this crisis head-on.”

ABOUT THE AMERICAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE in HAITI:  In Haiti, the American Refugee Committee provides services in four camps which house more than 80,000 people who lost their homes in the earthquake.  In partnership with the people of Haiti, we provide camp management, health care, shelter, clean water and sanitation, cash-for-work opportunities, and safe spaces for women and children.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE:    American Refugee Committee programs are built from the ground up.  We work with people at the most vulnerable points in their lives, when they have lost everything to war or disaster.  They let us know what they need most, and we work together to develop ways to help them get it.  Our programs are as diverse as the people we serve, but they all work together for the same goal:  to help people take back control of their lives.  We help nearly 2.5 million people a year through programs around the world.  We are based in Minneapolis, MN.  For more information, visit www.ARCrelief.org .

Press contact:
Therese Gales, American Refugee Committee (800) 875-7060, ThereseG@ARChq.org

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