Red Cross appeals for more donations to Haitian cholera epidemic

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies issued an international appeal on Thursday requesting approximately $12.7 million to battle the cholera epidemic in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The IFRC worked with the Coalition to Eliminate Cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to develop a 10-year program to eliminate cholera in the two countries. According to the international appeal, the Haitian Red Cross and Dominican Red Cross will require $12.7 million over the next two years to continue the fight against cholera.

During the first phase of the respective countries' national 10-year plans, the Red Cross will play a significant role in the elimination of cholera in Hispaniola. Hispaniola currently has one of the highest concentrations of cholera cases in the world.

In the past three years, the IFRC enacted measures to provide affected communities with access to cholera treatment centers, medical assistance, improved water sources and community-based health education. Despite these recent efforts, the IFRC said the potential for more outbreaks of epidemic proportion will remain a constant international and national threat unless fundamental issues are addressed.

Up until October 2010, Haiti had been free of cholera for more than 100 years. In the past three years, the country's caseload became the highest in the world. Just 69 percent of Haiti's population has regular access to clean water. The country's infrastructure for sanitation reaches approximately 27 percent of the population.