The Foreign Ministry sent some 200,000 doses of medication against cholera to Haiti this week, where more than 1,000 have died already from the outbreak. Israel also intends to set up a permanent trauma and emergency unit on the crisis-ridden island to assist in treating the thousands of patients.
The international cooperation branch of Israel Aid Agency announced it intends to come to the aid of Haiti which less than six months ago was hit by a devastating earthquake which left the island in ruins. It intends to assist both by sending medicines and by long-term aid.
"This is an aid project in a place where we see a need not being filled by others," said Dr. Yossi Peretz, a senior consultant for medical and humanitarian issues. "Many groups are operating there, but not all with good reputations and not all with appropriate coordination and to satisfactory levels from the point of view of the local authorities."
The unit will be located in the island's second largest city, Cap-Haïtien, which was chosen after authorities said there was a tangible need for a quality unit in the city, Peretz said. Cap-Haïtien has more than a million residents, and the unit's operations will also assist in developing the economy.
"We came to an agreement that we'd build a large unit meeting Israeli standards," Peretz said. "This is a pilot project. There is currently no infrastructure for trauma victims and the wounded, and there is a lack of experience and knowledge. We have taken it upon ourselves to build and train, and we are now preparing to take out the equipment. This will require many containers and Israeli construction and training teams, all 'blue and white' (from Israel). We intend to finish the project within four months and hand it over to them."
The UN has recently called on states around the world to contribute some $164 million to increase international efforts to combat the cholera outbreak, which has claimed the lives of 917 people so far and infected at least 14,600. According to Save the Children, 40% of those who died did not receive adequate medical attention. According to UN estimates, the number of those infected is liable to reach 200,000 – some 2% of the Haitian population.