A humanitarian team and supplies departed Switzerland for Haiti on Monday morning as part of intensified Swiss efforts to help victims of Hurricane Matthew.
The team from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Corps will be deployed mainly to the southwestern region of Haiti where the hurricane’s damage is greatest. So far, about 15 humanitarian aid workers from Switzerland are on the ground in Haiti, according to the foreign ministry.
The team that departed Monday will bring with it water treatment supplies to try to maintain a clean water supply and ward of a cholera epidemic in Haiti. Some 20 machines for chlorine treatment are on their way from Switzerland, and aid workers have already distributed some 40,000 water purification tablets to about 10,000 people in the city of Port-à-Piment. In the city of Port-Salut, Swiss aid workers have distributed clean water to about 3,000 people, and they purchased about 5,000 pieces of sheeting in the Dominican Republic that can be used as roofs for shelter.
The Swiss efforts are being coordinated by the Swiss embassy in Haiti and by Haitian authorities. So far, Switzerland’s donations have amounted to some CHF2.5 million ($2.52 million), CHF500,000 of which went to the World Food Programme and CHF300,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
After striking Haiti on October 4, Hurricane Matthew killed at least 546 people and displaced some 1.4 million. The United Nations called on the international community to pledge $120 million in aid, but only 12% of that amount has been pledged so far.
swissinfo.ch and agencies