Hurricane-hit Haiti receives two water purification stations

Port-au-Prince (AFP) - Two water purification stations arrived in Haiti Tuesday, after Hurricane Matthew plowed through the Caribbean nation last week, leaving hundreds dead and raising fears of a spike in cholera.

Both stations -- which each produce 250,000 liters (66,000 gallons) of drinking water per day -- arrived in Port-au-Prince as part of France's first shipment of humanitarian aid, which comprised some 69 tons of supplies, including medicine and anti-cholera kits.

According to the United Nations, Haiti's humanitarian crisis requires a "massive response" from the international community, with at least 1.4 million people needing emergency aid.

Haiti's drinking water and sanitation authority, DINEPA, will determine where the stations will be installed, France's ambassador to Haiti, Elisabeth Beton-Delegue, told AFP.

"There are 60 civil security agents who will ensure the installation and maintenance of the emergency stations, which won't stay in the country but are here as a stop-gap measure," she said.

Transporting the stations, which weigh seven tons each, has proven a major challenge, with air transport deemed the best solution due to the difficulty in accessing the worst-hit zones.

The slow arrival of aid has stirred anger in some remote areas of Haiti, the Americas' poorest nation.

The storm, which pummeled Haiti on October 4 as a monster Category 4 hurricane, left at least 372 dead in the country, with the toll likely to rise sharply as rescue workers reach previously inaccessible areas.

It struck as Haitians were already struggling with cholera spread by contaminated food and water, with more than 500 new cases each week.

While some towns and villages reported an apparent spike in infections since the storm, officials, who are still working to get a precise picture of the health situation, have said the official number of confirmed cases remains low.

The United Nations has launched a $120 million flash appeal to cover Haiti's needs for the next three months.