The American Red Cross has delivered the first of 5,000 cots to Haiti to support the medical response to the outbreak of cholera in that country.
Responding to a request from the Haitian government’s Ministry of Health, the Red Cross immediately sent 2,268 camp-bed cots from the US that arrived at Port-au-Prince’s international airport on Wednesday. Another shipment of the same size will arrive today, with the balance of cots due to arrive over the weekend. The camp cots will be delivered to hospitals and clinics treating and preparing to treat cholera victims.
The Haiti government had confirmed 303 deaths and 4,722 cases of cholera as of October 27th, 2010. Almost all of these were in the Artibonite and Central regions north and northwest of Port-au-Prince.
Five cases were confirmed in Port-au-Prince, where hundreds of thousands of Haitians left homeless by the January 12th earthquake are living under tarps and tents, but all five were contracted in the Artibonite River valley area.
The cots, which are from a Red Cross warehouse in Atlanta, Georgia, were transported via Miami and on to Port-au-Prince courtesy of FedEx. As a member of the annual Disaster Giving Program of the American Red Cross, FedEx provides financial and shipping assistance to enable the Red Cross to respond quickly to the needs of individuals and families impacted by disaster.
The American Red Cross has been actively involved in a rapid and coordinated response to the cholera outbreak by the global Red Cross network, which began on October 21.
The response has involved sending medical supplies and clean water to the affected areas, providing key personnel to coordinate health and water and sanitation activities, and launching a vast communications effort that has involved sending radio and SMS text messages twice a day to 350,000 cell phone users in Port-au-Prince and another 30,000 in the Artibonite River valley.