WHO sends 1 million cholera vaccines to Haiti

The World Health Organization (WHO) is sending 1 million doses of cholera vaccine to Haiti to stem the disease in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the UN agency said Tuesday.

However, WHO stressed in a statement that other steps need to be taken even more urgently as infection numbers rise and the annual cholera season approaches.

"The most important line of defence against cholera is to provide clean water to people, and improve sanitation," said Dominique Legros, a WHO cholera expert.

Identifying and treating patients quickly is also a high priority, according to the Geneva-based agency.

Hurricane Matthew, which swept through the Caribbean Sea last week, has left at least 372 people dead and 246 injured in Haiti, while forcing 175,500 people into emergency shelters.

Of Haiti's 197 health facilities, 35 were affected by the floods and heavy winds, Legros said.

The vaccine doses could be used to provide a life-long protection to 500,000 people, or a limited 6-month protection to 1 million people.

Matthew struck Haiti with winds of up to 230 kilometres an hour, flattening homes, roads, infrastructure and farms.

In the north-west of the impoverished country, between 60 and 90 per cent of crops were destroyed, while 100 per cent were wiped out in the south-west, the UN World Food Programme said.

Neighbouring Cuba also saw major damage to its agriculture.

Last update: Tue, 11/10/2016 - 15:45

More from World

Death toll reaches 13 in Tennessee wildfires

Thirteen people were confirmed dead and about 70 were still missing on Friday in wildfires that continue to burn in...

Russia: Syria peace talks blocked by those seeking al-Assad's ouster

Syrian peace talks are being blocked by those seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad in violation of a United...

Germany pledges additional 50 million euros in aid as Aleppo crumbles

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pledged 50 million euros (53.2 million dollars) in aid to the war-...

UN expert: Torture widespread after Turkey coup, overcrowded jails

Torture and abuse were "widespread" in Turkey in the immediate aftermath of the failed coup attempt in July, a UN...

Gambia’s Jammeh loses election after 22-year rule

Gambian opposition candidate Adama Barrow has won presidential polls with 263,515 votes, followed by President Yahya...