Haiti: Disaster reduction and cholera prevention go hand in hand
The Order of Malta strengthens rural communities and schools
The Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency Malteser International is working with poor, disaster-prone communities in Léogâne – 35km from the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince – to protect its citizens from disasters and cholera outbreaks. Through large awareness campaigns, trainings and simulations, this programme will directly benefit more than 6,000 Haitians, who will then act as multipliers to reach more than 250,000 people.
“Haiti is not only the poorest country in the Western hemisphere; it is also one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world,” says Jelena Kaifenheim, of Malteser International. “The high risk of a cholera outbreak after natural disasters means it is all the more important to combine our measures in disaster risk reduction with cholera prevention. We are concentrating our help on poor, vulnerable villages and communities in Léogâne where there’s hardly any functioning social or health infrastructure.”
The project is focusing on schools that do not have emergency plans and lack preparations in first-aid and cholera prevention. Malteser International trains so-called “school brigades” and regularly conducts disaster simulations in order to prepare students and teachers for emergencies.
The project receives financial support from Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. Malteser International has been active in Haiti since 2010.