Haiti: Cholera heighten in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac
Just when Haiti thought it had cholera under control, Tropical Storm Isaac came along. The storm left at least 24 dead in Haiti, and reignited fears that the floods and rains could accelerate a peak in cholera deaths and infections. The deadly disease could spread to the sprawling tent cities in Haiti’s capital where 390,000 victims of the January 2010 earthquake still live.
Living conditions in many of the 575 camps have deteriorated to the point where Haitians remain extremely vulnerable to cholera.
The resurgence of the cholera outbreak is particularly worrying since non-governmental organizations, which responded at the beginning of the epidemic, are phasing out due to lack of funding.
This is especially true in flooded communities, where the drinking water is at risk of becoming contaminated by waste-water from latrines. Along Route 9 near the informal township of Cité Soleil, a nearby river flooded about 1,200 homes, turning front rooms and yards into chocolate-colored lakes.
The annual Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, has become a reminder of not just how environmentally fragile Haiti is, but how susceptible Haitians are to contracting cholera, the deadly waterborne epidemic that arrived in Haiti two years ago next month.
Nepalese U.N. troops have been accused of bringing cholera to Haiti after the Artibonite River, located near the troops’ latrines, became contaminated with the cholera bacteria. On Wednesday, more than a dozen human rights groups are expected to issue a letter renewing calls for the U.N. to make clean water and sanitation available in Haiti to help curtail the cholera crises.
Cholera has killed more than 7,500 Haitians and sickened more than 588,000 in what some describe as one of the worst epidemics in recent years.
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