Officials in Haiti 'slow to respond' as cholera spreads

Enrique Bj - November 8 2010, 9:20 AM

A LEADING Irish charity has criticised the reaction of the authorities in Haiti to an outbreak of cholera that has claimed more than 500 lives.

There is concern on the Caribbean island that the true extent of the disease has been grossly under-estimated, according to the non-governmental organisation Haven.

The charity planned to bring 600 volunteers to Haiti over the past two weeks for intensive construction projects but was forced to cancel the expeditions due to the outbreak of the disease.

The country's health ministry has announced that more than 500 people have now died. But John Wain, Haven's operations director, said there were widespread concerns amongst charities that the response was unco-ordinated and not as effective as it should be.

"The Haitian authorities were slow to react and take the necessary precautions to halt the spread of the infection"

Cholera spreads through contaminated water and food, typically through faeces being washed into the groundwater.

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