Aid agency efforts are being stepped up to stem an outbreak of cholera affecting survivors of earthquake-ravaged Haiti, a British charity has said
Approximately 220,000 people were killed in the seven-magnitude earthquake on January 12, which left hundreds of thousands of others injured and homeless living in tented accommodation.
According to UN reports, 253 people have died from the cholera outbreak within the last seven days, mostly centred in the Artibonite region of central Haiti, north of the country's earthquake-devastated capital Port-au-Prince.
Cholera causes acute diarrhoea leaving patients at risk of dying of dehydration if left untreated.
Save the Children spokeswoman Sarah Jacobs warned that children, toddlers and babies were most vulnerable to cholera as they had less fluid in their bodies and were physically not as strong.
The charity has around 800 workers on the ground as part of a co-ordinated Government response with other aid agencies and the UN.
Work is under way to educate families about protecting themselves through proper hygiene and providing medical supplies including rehydration tablets.
Ms Jacobs said: "Cholera spreads through contaminated water. More than one million people are still living in camps in Port-au-Prince. When it rains children play in the puddles, sanitation is still poor in some camps and young people do not know what the dangers are."
She added: "We are ramping up our work. There have been five cases of cholera in Port au Prince, but these cases came from the affected region and were being treated in isolation. The danger is if the disease does spread there are many people living in cramped conditions. If we are not ready to respond quickly it could be catastrophic."
Public donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee's appeal to help Haiti survivors following the earthquake exceeded £103 million.