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Hurricane Matthew: WHO to send 1 million cholera vaccinations to Haiti

Click to play video: 'Haiti now battling a massive outbreak of Cholera following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew' Haiti now battling a massive outbreak of Cholera following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew
WATCH:Haiti now battling a massive outbreak of Cholera following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. – Oct 12, 2016

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that it was sending 1 million doses of cholera vaccine to Haiti, where cases of the killer disease have climbed in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

READ MORE: Why a distrust in aid groups may impact Hurricane Matthew relief efforts in Haiti

“The top priority for those people affected by the hurricane is to give them access to clean water. That is the only way we can control cholera,” Dominique Legros, WHO cholera expert, told a news briefing before travelling to the Caribbean country.

Some 150 suspected cholera cases have been reported in Grande’Anse department and 50 in South department, he said. “It is more than usual, I know it is a sharp increase compared to usual figures.”

WHO was considering giving people a single dose of the vaccine rather than the classic double dose, to cover more people, albeit it with a shorter protection period, Legros said.

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Haiti suffered a massive cholera outbreak following a 2010 earthquake that devastated the impoverished country. Roughly 10,000 people have died as a result of the initial outbreak.

READ MORE: Haiti will need ‘life-saving assistance’ in the next three months

The disease – which causes people to die from dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea – was introduced into the country’s biggest river from a UN base where Nepalese peacekeepers were deployed. In August of this year, the UN admitted their role in introducing cholera.

WATCH: Canadian, international aid arrives in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew

Click to play video: 'Canadian, international aid arrives in Haiti as cholera outbreak reported' Canadian, international aid arrives in Haiti as cholera outbreak reported
Canadian, international aid arrives in Haiti as cholera outbreak reported – Oct 10, 2016

The U.N. humanitarian agency in Geneva has also made an emergency appeal for nearly $120 million in hurricane aid, noting about 750,000 people in southwest Haiti alone will need “life-saving assistance and protection” in the next three months

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With files from The Associated Press and Nicole Bogart

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