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Last updated: 04 November, 2010 - Published 19:56 GMT
 
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Haiti braces for Tomas
 
Earthquake survivors collect water in a provisional camp in Port-au-Prince

Haiti is bracing for an expected battering from the storm Tomas.

On its current track, the storm which has regained strength, was expected to pass over southern and northwest areas of Haiti before heading towards the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Jamaica and Cuba were also preparing for storm conditions.

Aid agencies fear the cholera outbreak in Haiti could worsen, if heavy rains associated with the storm hit the country.

One NGO - Vwa Ayiti(Voice of Haiti) has been assisting with moving people to safer areas from their remote villages in the south of the country.

Spokesman Fritz Pierre says they need all the help they can get.

Meanwhile, the United Nations children's programme, Unicef, says it is rushing to ensure adequate emergency supplies to Haiti in preparation for the storm.

The organisation says its positioning of emergency supplies forms part of its ongoing efforts to support the government of Haiti's response to the recent cholera outbreak.

Unicef is among the agencies expressing concern that the work done to contain the disease could be threatened if the storm brings inland flooding.

Doctors warned that torrential rainfall could flood sanitary installations and contaminate drinking water.

The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami says it expects Tomas to intensify significantly.

Forecaster Eric Blake says if it continues along its current path, Tomas could start impacting on Haiti by late Thursday, and make landfall on Friday.

Cholera outbreak worsening

The number of people known to have died from a cholera epidemic in Haiti has increased markedly.

Health officials say 105 more people have died since Saturday, bringing the total to 442.

They said there had been a 40% jump in the number of new cases.

Jocelyn Pierre-Louis of the Haitian Health Ministry says almost 2,000 people have been taken to hospital with cholera infections since Saturday.

The total number of cases now stands at 6,742, according to the authorities on the island.

South Asian link

On Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control found that all the Haitian patients had the same strain of cholera, one that is most commonly found in South Asia.

The UN is investigating allegations that excrement from Nepalese peacekeepers caused the epidemic.

But Health Minister Dr Alex Larsen said it was unlikely the outbreak's origin would ever be known.

Haiti had not seen a cholera outbreak for about half a century, and initially many people were unsure of what steps to take to avoid the disease.

Doctors say poor sanitary conditions after January's earthquake made the country vulnerable to cholera, which is caused by bacteria transmitted through contaminated water or food.

Cholera causes diarrhoea and vomiting leading to severe dehydration, and can kill within 24 hours if left untreated.

It is easily treated through rehydration and antibiotics.

 
 
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