Haiti hit by cholera epidemic

UN warns about humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The cholera death toll in Haiti is rising daily

The UN says humanitarian crisis in Haiti is getting worse every day, with climate change, cholera, and an influx of migrants from the neighboring Dominican Republic fuelling the crisis.

“The impoverished Caribbean nation is facing a deluge of problems, pushing an already vulnerable population closer to the edge," Enzo di Taranto, head of Haiti's UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated in an interview with AFP.

" Among these pressures is a new cholera outbreak. Cases are up 300 percent in the first months of 2015 compared to the same period last year," he said.

Cholera, a water-borne disease caught by drinking and using contaminated water, has killed nearly 9,000 Haitians and infected 732,000 since it broke out in the country in late 2010.  

Cholera causes diarrhea and vomiting that often brings on severe dehydration, which if not treated quickly can be fatal. Since 2012, nearly 200,000 Haitians have received an oral vaccine to better protect them against cholera.

Many Haitians blame cholera on UN peacekeeping troops from Nepal, who they say introduced the disease to Haiti.

According to UN data, nearly 20,000 people have been affected and 170 killed by the disease since the beginning of the year.

Out of an estimated population of 10 million, around three million Haitians still are drinking dirty water, OCHA said.

Beyond the increase in cholera, the humanitarian situation in the country is worsening because of a "convergence of several factors," di Taranto said.

"The devaluation of the gourde (Haitian currency), which means an increase in the price of baseline products like medicine, food and water; the drought which has hit many regions in the country; and also the repatriation of Haitians from the Dominican Republic," are all contributing, he said.

In June, the neighboring Dominican Republic launched a rough new immigration coverage, prompting 60,000 Haitians to leave the region.

The uncontrolled move is exerting a “demographic stress on the presently pretty weak overall health procedure in Haiti and on the supply of food items and drinking water,” di Taranto stated.

Haiti, the 98 percent of its forest cover has been lost, has seen a deterioration in agricultural situations, and topsoil erosion.
Simply because of this, the warm air from the existing "El Nino" affect Haiti much more than other nations around the world in the location.

"We need to launch public rural development programs which let us confront these climatological dynamics that we can't control," di Taranto said.

To tackle the rapid humanitarian emergency, OCHA estimates it will need to have all-around $25 million in the upcoming four to six months.


TRTWorld and agencies