Lack of Sanitation Could Lead to Outbreak of Diseases

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010 12:30
Patricia Mazzei reports for the Miami Herald on the lack of sanitation and the possibility of diseases spreading throughout the make-shift camps:
"But now, more than five weeks after the quake, the dangers of inadequate sanitation could amount to the most pressing public health issue in this quake-wrecked city. "
On February 22 the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordiantion reported that:
"the WASH cluster has recently worked on an acceleration plan for latrine construction with a short-term phase (before end of March and the beginning of the rainy season), erecting 12,950 latrines along with hand washing facilities; and a mid-term phase (before end of June), erecting 21,182 latrines. As of 22 February, more than 2,605 latrines have been completed by WASH Cluster partners, for 130,250 persons."
In their previous report, from February 19, OCHA stated that:
"To date, there have been no proven outbreaks of epidemics and all reported cases have been tested and confirmed negative. However, the Health cluster warns that there is a risk of a large-scale outbreak of diarrhea, given the present overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of effective waste disposal systems in spontaneous settlement sites. While there is no direct relationship between natural disasters and the outbreak of diseases, there is a strong relationship between congested living situations, poor sanitation and diarrhea."
The Miami Herald continues,
"Diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, lots of infection, vaginal discharge, headache, ear infection. . .' Fabienne Ulysse, a nurse practitioner from Columbia University who is working at an International Medical Corps tent in the PĂ©tionville Club camp, listed as conditions she has been treating recently.

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With the rainy season looming and about a million people living in makeshift settlements, it is becoming increasingly critical to bring portable toilets in and get the sewage out.

Tags: disease | latrines | ocha | sanitation