Humanitarian Bulletin 21 September–18 October 2011

Situation Report
Originally published



  • Access to water and sanitation continues to deteriorate in IDP camps

  • Torrential rains in September and October lead to more cholera outbreaks

  • Food insecurity affects one in two Haitians


More rain brings more cholera outbreaks

Despite an overall downward trend of the cholera epidemic, abundant rains in September and October triggered important cholera outbreaks across the country, particularly in the North, Sud, and Nippes departments, and Port-au-Prince metropolitan area.

The Sud department is particularly vulnerable due to the limited number of health partners. The withdrawal of the British Red Cross, scheduled to take place at the end of October, is likely to have an impact on case management, awareness raising and WASH activities in the area.

Following torrential rains from 7 to 11 October, the number of new cases doubled in the department, with 1,339 new patients from 1 to 11 October, compared to 562 from 25 September to 1 October.

In the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, the system of bed capacity monitoring, which was implemented during previous outbreaks, has been re-activated. Out of a total number of 854 beds, 617 beds were occupied as of 21 September, reports the Health Cluster.

The epidemiological tendency has followed the anticipated course, beginning with localized outbreaks in highly populated urban areas and then spreading to rural zones. Torrential rains are still expected in Sud, Sud-Est and Nord departments until the end of October, according to the Health Cluster, at a time when a withdrawal or downscaling of health partners due to funding gap is threatening the ability to respond to further outbreaks.

It also appears that outbreaks of cholera registered in the country since the end of the first peak in June are much more severe, though more localized. Modes of transmission may have evolved. Contamination through street markets and the pollution of drinking water sources may have become a main vector of cholera contamination.

Nationwide access to safe drinking water and sanitation reaches respectively 54 and 30 percent, reports the WASH Cluster. With the end of the emergency phase in May, the National Directorate for Water and Sanitation (DINEPA) launched the Phase 3 of its national response strategy to the cholera epidemic. It included building sustainable water and sanitation infrastructures in a context predicted to be characterized by an absence or near absence of cholera cases.

With renewed outbreaks, DINEPA revised its strategy and launched a third distribution of water purification tablets last August. This has benefitted more than 800,000 people in targeted communal sections with the highest incidence of cholera and no previous coverage. In November 2010 DINEPA already made an initial distribution of water purification tablets to more than one million families and soap to more than 400,000 families. A second distribution to 200,000 households took place last May and June.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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