Following January's devastating earthquake, over a million people in Haiti have been living in make-shift camps. It is these difficult living conditions which have resulted in the first cholera outbreak in Haiti in over a hundred years, due to a lack of decent sanitation facilities and access to clean drinking water.
The UN announced yesterday that over 28,000 people in Haiti are now being treated for cholera symptoms and it is estimated that close to 2,000 people have already died. The death toll is expected to rise until the situation can be brought under control. Since cholera broke out in Haiti in mid-October it has spread much faster than predicted and is likely to affect hundreds of thousands of people, according to the UN.
Cholera is caused by contaminated water or food and frequently occurs following a natural disaster. It is an intestinal infection that causes diarrhoea, vomiting and severe dehydration and can very quickly lead to death if left untreated.
A severe shortage of supplies is said to be hampering aid efforts and doctors and nurses are being overwhelmed with requests for help. The Grand Charity's donation will provide hygiene and sanitation packs, which the Red Cross will distribute to help stop the spread of the disease.
The Freemasons' Grand Charity donated £30,000 for immediate assistance following the January earthquake, in which an estimated 230,000 people were killed and over 300,000 injured. A Relief Chest was also opened by the Council of the Grand Charity, which raised £93,000. The Chest, which has now closed, is helping to fund the re-building of a school in Leogane, Haiti.
The Freemasons' Grand Charity
The Freemasons' Grand Charity is a grant-making charity, which is funded by Freemasons and their families. It continues a commitment to charitable support that began nearly 300 years ago in the earliest days of organised Freemasonry.
Each year The Freemasons Grand Charity donates millions of pounds to support:
- Freemasons and their dependants in financial need
- Medical research
- Support for vulnerable people
- Youth opportunities
- Hospice services
- Air Ambulances and equivalent services
- Disaster relief
During 2009, the Charity made grants totalling nearly £7 million. Through its grants the Charity aims to:
- Make a significant difference to people in real need
- Support issues of concern to Freemasons and their families
- Help the wider community by supporting vital projects
Visit The Freemasons' Grand Charity website at www.grandcharity.org