WASHINGTON, November 24, 2010 — In response to the first cholera outbreak in Haiti in decades, the World Bank is preparing a US$10 million Cholera Emergency Grant. The program is part of World Bank US$479 million reconstruction support. The outbreak has already caused over 1,200 deaths and could kill up to 10,000 people in the coming six to 12 months if the outbreak is not contained, according to figures from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
“Haiti needs all the help it can get to respond to the deadly cholera epidemic which is ravaging parts of the country,” said Ronald Baudin, Haiti’s Minister of Finance. “The support of the World Bank will be key for saving lives and re-establishing the public health service network."
The US$10 million grant will bolster the surveillance and monitoring capacity of the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and the Haitian National Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation (DINEPA). The initiative is aligned with the Cholera Inter-Sector Response Strategic Plan for Haiti, under the leadership of MSPP and DINEPA.
The grant will also finance the work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to improve access to clean water, provide basic health services for affected populations and vulnerable groups, as well as safe sanitation and waste management in high risk areas.
“Implementation of the National Response Strategy to the cholera outbreak requires close donor and partner coordination, including all organizations currently operating on the ground,” said Alexandre Abrantes, the World Bank Special Envoy to Haiti. “The new grant will be used to contract experienced NGOs for immediate cholera response activities and strengthen the capacity of the Government to respond to epidemics.”
These activities will complement significant hygiene awareness and prevention efforts already underway, such as the creation of a “Public Health Brigade” to carry out cholera treatment and prevention work throughout the country.
Through a Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery grant of US$200,000, the World Bank is identifying national and international actors already involved in these tasks, preparing a standardized training plan and training a core group of 250 trainers. It will also finance an awareness and prevention campaign.
The Bank has also provided assistance to the Directorate of Civil Protection since the beginning of the cholera outbreak to coordinate the response of the Government and its partners. This assistance has supported the setup and manning of the National Emergency Operation Center and management of the national campaign "Konbit kont Kolera", which raises awareness on cholera and its prevention.
According to Haitian official figures, the number of people hospitalized has reached more than 22,512 and the number of deaths has risen to more than 1,200. Haiti’s humanitarian situation was already precarious due to the January 12, 2010 earthquake that struck the country and left 1.5 million people homeless and living in camps throughout Port-au-Prince and other cities.
In the aftermath of the January earthquake, the World Bank is providing US$479 million in reconstruction support. Of those, US$320 million have been already provided for various government-led projects, US$39 million were used to cancel Haiti's Bank debt and US$49 million from the Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, were used to support Haiti's private development.
The Bank's response following the earthquake has focused on improving the lot of those affected while contributing to build the foundations for a long-term recovery. Emergency projects have included: rebuilding state capacity, clearing the city's drainage canals to avoid flooding, feeding school children, providing solar energy to displaced Haitians, assessing housing damage and rebuilding crucial roads and bridges for the delivery of aid.
The new World Bank grant of US$10 million is being prepared with the Government of Haiti and United Nations agencies and is expected to be formally submitted to the Board of Directors of the World Bank for approval in December 2010. Provisions under World Bank emergency operation procedures allow for up to 40 percent of the grant, once approved, to be used to reimburse eligible expenditures already incurred as part of the emergency response.