PORT-AU-PRINCE, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- As fear for post-disaster epidemics haunts, doctors from some countries and international organizations are orchestrating vaccination efforts against diseases that may spread in the tent cities of quake-hit Haiti.
Children are main vaccination targets and vulnerable adults will also get vaccine shots in temporary residence areas which are mostly large tents in open places.
So far there is no evidence that contagious diseases have broken out in the makeshift camps, but diseases caused by poor hygiene, like skin rashes and respiratory complaints are plentiful.
Red Cross officials worry about a potential cholera outbreak.
Cuban doctors have started vaccinating children in a clinic at the Silvia Cattor Stadium in the Haitian capital.
"The Cuban brigade is working alongside the Pan-American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and UNICEF on delivering vaccines for immune responsive infections," said Adelaide Grau Varela, a member of the Henry Reeve Cuban Medical Brigade that has already vaccinated about 3,100 people against tetanus-diphtheria at the stadium.
UNICEF began collaboration with Cuban doctors on Monday to deliver vaccines to temporary residence areas where children are exposed to infectious diseases.
"We are aiming to reach 500,000 children in the quake area with vaccines," said Kent Page, senior UNICEF communications officer. "We will be expanding to three or four other sites this week. Because of the living conditions in the makeshift shelters a major disease outbreak would spread like wildfire. This is a preventative measure to save children's lives."
The Henry Reeve Cuban Medical Brigade, first formed in response to the United States' Hurricane Katrina emergency and with field experiences in China, Pakistan, Guatemala, Indonesia and Bolivia, plans to open 37 more vaccination points across Port-au-Prince and beyond.
Relief efforts in better order are benefiting more people on a more equal basis. The food distribution program organized by the UN agency the World Food Program (WFP) has reached 850,000 people, WFP spokesman Marcus Prior told Xinhua on Tuesday.
"We had 14 sites open Tuesday, up from 12 yesterday," Prior said.
The WFP is distributing bags of rice to female heads of households across Port-au-Prince, via a 15-day program that began Sunday. The program aims to reach 2 million people during two weeks.
Prior said that the WFP was conducting assessments of vulnerable groups alongside the distribution and would make more targeted deliveries from later this month.
During a visit to a distribution site in Bois Neuf, a calmer section of Cite Soliel, on the grounds of the Haitian Athletics Sports Training Center, a Xinhua reporter witnessed the distribution of bags of rice comparatively smooth, thanks to the cooperation of four groups of actors: World Food Program officials, workers from nongovernment organization Samaritan's Purse, and soldiers from the Jordanian and U.S. armies.
As the rainy season approaches, Haiti is facing a housing crisis with more than 1 million people homeless.
"Shelter is now the top priority," said John Holmes, UN deputy secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.
The UN humanitarian chief admitted that they did not have a perfect solution yet.
According to the International Organization for Migration, transitional shelter is urgently needed, including tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, tools and ropes that provide more weather-proof and durable shelter in the months to come.
Political agenda has also been affected due to the earthquake. Haiti's electoral council said Tuesday the country's legislative elections, which were originally scheduled between Feb. 28 and March 3, had been postponed to an unspecified later date.
"For human and technical reasons, it is obvious that the electoral process will not be able to proceed as we planned," said President Rene Preval.
One candidate was confirmed killed during the earthquake.
Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive said on Tuesday that the death toll of the devastating earthquake that shook the country on Jan. 12, had risen to 200,000.
Bellerive gave the figure during a report presentation at the Senate,adding that the actual number of death might be higher.
During his report, Bellerive also said that the structure of the Haitian government had to change to cope with the crisis.
Bellerive proposed that a National Committee of Crisis be created and the tasks of ministers be redefined.
Sixty percent of the gross domestic product of Haiti was destroyed in 35 seconds, Bellerive said.