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martes, noviembre 09, 2010

Haiti: Cholera Found in Port Au Prince

As feared, Cholera appears to have arrived in Port Au Prince, Haiti. A first confirmed case has now been reported: the 3 year-old child with the disease had not left Port Au Prince. This outbreak is a major threat to millions of people. The report:

Haiti's cholera outbreak has spread to the capital Port-au-Prince, putting the lives of millions of homeless people at risk.

Health authorities said a three-year-old boy who has not left the city in the last year had caught the disease....

More than 100 suspected cases of cholera among residents of the capital are being investigated.
The outbreak has already killed at least 544 people in other areas of Haiti, according to health ministry executive director Gabriel Timothee.

He said many of the patients in hospital in Port-au-Prince are believed to have recently arrived from the Artibonite Valley, an agricultural area where more than 6,400 of Haiti's known 8,138 cases have been recorded.

The water-borne disease had never been reported in Haiti before its appearance last month.

The earthquake in Haiti demolished much of the weak infrastructure of that impoverished country. Even before the earthquake, sanitation and drinking water and food were major concerns. The earthquake made conditions far worse, evicting thousands form substandard housing and pushing them into make shift tent and shack encampmets in the capital. Then Tomas arrived. The storm brought intense rain and flooding, which seems to have overwhelmed the city's remaining sanitation systems. The street reek. Excrement is everywhere. It was only a matter of time in these conditions before the disease emerged.

Haiti's suffering continues. And now, there is an even greater risk to the lives of Haitians in the capital. As I wrote just yesterday,

Two things are clear: all US aid that was appropriated for Haiti, more than a billion dollars, needs to be freed up and delivered there. And it is also a good time to make contributions to organizations that aid Haiti. I recommend Doctors Without Borders.

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