Mr. Speaker, our government is very concerned about the recent events taking place in Haiti, the most impoverished country in the Americas even before this past January. Our thoughts continue to be with the people of Haiti as they struggle with each destabilizing event that they face.
The Government of Canada and the people of Canada remain committed to helping the Haitian people as they rebuild their lives after the earthquake and are now fighting the cholera epidemic, and peaceful political dialogue is essential for Haiti to emerge from the current political crisis. Canada calls on all individuals involved in the Haiti electoral process to prioritize peace and the best interests of the population. Allow me to bring the House up to date on our development work in Haiti.
First, since the terrible earthquake, Canada has responded swiftly and effectively with immediate humanitarian assistance including food aid for 4.4 million people and emergency housing and supplies for 2.2 million people. Since then, we have responded to the critical needs caused by the cholera epidemic. While the recent political unrest has caused some disruption in providing medical care to those affected, the rate of infection is finally slowing.
On December 2, the Pan American Health Organization said that in-hospital case fatality rates have dropped from 9% at the beginning of the outbreak to 3.2% now. We must continue to work to stabilize the spread of disease and prevent further deaths.
With 11 months having passed since the earthquake, we can say that progress is being made in Haiti; however, the process of rebuilding will be slow. The pace of reconstruction left many more vulnerable to the onset of cholera. Medical experts estimate that Haiti will have approximately 400,000 cases of cholera over the next year, with 200,000 cases occurring over the next three months.
Northern Haiti remains the area with the highest caseload. Hastened by inadequate sanitary conditions in many parts of Haiti after the earthquake, the devastating progress of the disease grew worse because of the heavy rains brought on by Hurricane Tomas. Now in addition, civil unrest in the north since November 15 has unfortunately slowed some activities in response to the outbreak. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the situation in Haiti remains very serious. Canada is working with all who are on the ground in Haiti to respond to these multiple challenges.
Before I give some examples of what Canada is helping to achieve, I would like to inform the Speaker that I am splitting my time with the member for Beauport—Limoilou.
The Canadian International Development Agency is working with five experienced partners in response to the UN appeal for assistance. These partners are the Pan American Health Organization or PAHO, UNICEF, World Vision Canada, Médecins du Monde Canada and Oxfam Canada. They are working together to ensure that Haitians benefit from coordinated, effective and proven interventions that get to the people who need it.
There are currently some 70 organizations coordinated through the UN-led health cluster responding to the epidemic. PAHO is overseeing the coordination, establishing cholera treatment centres, providing technical assistance to help authorities and implementing disease surveillance. UNICEF is coordinating the national water and sanitation response and material and logistical support for the treatment centres, training national health care workers, providing sanitation services for schools in residential child care facilities, as well as implementing a national information campaign on cholera prevention measures.
Oxfam-Québec is providing emergency water and sanitation service for health facilities and affected communities. With the Government of Canada's support, World Vision Canada will provide up to 120,000 cholera patients with life-saving treatment in specialized health facilities and provide additional families with access to clean water and the necessary supplies to slow the spread of cholera in Port-au-Prince, La Gonave and along the border with the Dominican Republic.
Médecins du Monde Canada will establish rehydration and cholera treatment centres in Cité Soleil. It will also provide further training on cholera treatment and prevention measures to community-based and hospital health workers. CIDA is also working with partners on the ground previously funded for earthquake relief to respond to the cholera epidemic.
I am pleased that, after our request, the Canadian Red Cross has deployed part of its newly-created emergency field hospital, created with CIDA's support, to Haiti. The treatment centre is now up and running in Port-au-Prince with Canadian health professionals.
As the first of its kind in the Americas, it is already providing a timely response to urgent needs. Services are being provided through cholera treatment centres, treatment units and oral rehydration centres. Individual and community-based prevention measures such as the distribution of soap, water purification tablets and rehydration salts are ongoing. Tens of thousands of litres of chlorinated water are being sent to affected areas.
I remind the House that Haiti was the poorest country in the Americas prior to the earthquake. When the earthquake hit, it was devastating; 26 out of 28 government department buildings were destroyed, thousands of people lost their homes and livelihoods, children lost their schools, medical facilities were lost as well as basic services and infrastructure, and roads were not passable. The poorest situations existed before the earthquake and then came the cholera epidemic.
The cholera epidemic is now being fought by all NGOs that are there currently working on the earthquake as well as the cholera epidemic. There is a capacity problem. There is again a problem with the destruction of infrastructure and facilities and a medical system that is virtually all being provided by the international community. Canada continues to work within the model set out internationally and agreed to by the government of Haiti, a sovereign country.
I can assure everyone that the Government of Canada continues to monitor the situation very closely to help ensure that the needs are being met even under these most difficult circumstances.