Aid agencies in Haiti have put emergency response teams on alert and are preparing cholera treatment sites as a strong hurricane heads toward the earthquake-ravaged Caribbean country.
Hurricane Irene is bearing down on Haiti and the Dominican Republic after battering Puerto Rico. The hurricane is only expected to bring heavy rains to northern Haiti, as opposed to earlier forecasts that it will directly hit the country, but aid agencies said they are not taking any chances.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country, or MINUSTAH, have set up an emergency joint response and expanded their joint operation center. The U.N. and the International Organization for Migration is also helping Haitian authorities implement a public awareness campaign in highly populated areas across the country and have assessed possible evacuation plans.
Meanwhile, the International Medical Corps has relocated cholera patients from a tent-based treatment center to a hospital to ensure the patients will receive continuous care.
The United Nations and its partner humanitarian health organizations have been providing cholera treatment to thousands of Haitians by an outbreak in various parts of the country, which is still struggling to recover from the strong January 2010 earthquake that flattened most its towns and cities.
The European Union, meantime, has unveiled 11 disaster preparedness projects that aim to help reduce the risks from floods, earthquakes and landslides in the country. The projects, worth $5.47 million, are expected to benefit some 1.3 million in the municipalities of West, Nippes, Southeast and Artibonite, according to Defend Haiti.
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