On Monday 15 November, there were riots in the northern Haiti town of Cap Haitien which resulted in at least one civilian being killed and five UN peacekeepers injured. All children, mothers and SOS staff are safe. As a precaution, the Director of SOS Children's Village Cap Haitien has closed the Social Centre, the School and Vocational Training Centre so that people are not put at risk. They will remain closed until the situation is deemed safe. In addition no one is allowed to leave the Children's Village at the present time.
Regarding the cholera outbreak, one child at an SOS Community Centre in Port-au-Prince became sick and is currently being treated. The Family Strengthening Programme Coordinator in Port-au-Prince is providing the community centres with cholera prevention information for the families supported by the FSP.
Over a hundred people are being treated in the city and health experts predict thousands more will contract the disease. Across the country, over 9,000 cases of cholera have been registered and nearly 600 people have died. The disease is currently present in half of Haiti’s 10 regions and its spread to the capital, which had been feared over the past few weeks, is now official.
An estimated 2.5 million Haitians live in Port-au-Prince, 1.3 million of them in the tented camps set up for survivors of January’s earthquake. Their main concern at the moment is for Haitians living in areas without basic sanitation and where residents are forced to use contaminated water. The initial cases of cholera in the capital have happened in the slum area of Cite Soleil, a huge area of brick, wood and tin-roof shanties. Over 115 cases and one death have been reported at the local hospital there. Cite Soleil suffers from dire sanitary conditions. The shanty houses run alongside rubbish-clogged canals which are used as toilets by many of the slums’ inhabitants. Because of the area’s reputation for gang violence, only a small number of aid agencies operate here and supplies of soap and water purification tablets are limited.