Cholera outbreak threatens Haiti after hurricane
October 10, 2016
The most powerful Caribbean tropical storm in nearly a decade, Hurricane Matthew is pounding Haiti with strong winds and heavy rain. International Medical Corps’ team in Haiti is preparing to respond as soon as the storm passes, while additional emergency response experts are en route to the Bahamas to immediately assess the needs and provide assistance following the storm.
The eye of the hurricane made landfall over south-western Haiti with winds as high as 145 miles per hour and storm surges up to 10 feet. Haiti’s southern coastal city of Les Cayes reportedly lost power, while some areas were already flooded as a result of rain from the outer bands of storm. Life-threatening flash floods, landslides, and storm surges are also significant concerns, with some parts of Haiti expected to receive up to 40 inches of rain.
International Medical Corps is already fighting a cholera outbreak in Haiti—a disease that is exacerbated by heavy rains and flooding. In the aftermath of the storm, water, sanitation, and hygiene support will be urgently needed to help prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera. International Medical Corps will also look at supporting local health facilities and the nutrition needs of affected populations.
International Medical Corps currently provides ongoing humanitarian assistance to those in need in northern and western Haiti. The organization responded to the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010 and later that year to Hurricane Tomas and an outbreak of cholera.
A preeminent first responder for more than three decades, International Medical Corps has extensive experience providing medical care and other lifesaving relief in the aftermath of disasters, including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.