Friday, November 12, 2010

Haiti, Over 500 Dead in Cholera Epidemic, 200,000 Feared Infected

Haiti, Over 500 Dead in Cholera Epidemic, 200,000 Feared Infected
Written by Paul I. Adujie

Haitians and Haiti are facing new miseries. The weeks old cholera outbreak epidemic is exposing Haitians to new risks as cholera spreads in Port Au Prince, and its environs, the epicenter of the January 2010 earthquake which killed more than 230,000 persons and rendered over two million person homeless.

The United Nations now estimates that over 200,000 could be infected and thousands killed, and that cholera could spread to the Dominican Republic, a neighbor nation of Haiti

The outbreak of cholera, dysentery, communicable diseases of epidemic or even pandemic proportions were all too predictable and even expected in the aftermath of the earthquake catastrophe. The outbreak of the current cholera epidemic is harbinger of even worse miseries which are most probable.

The spread of cholera and other diseases, are no surprises, given the present conditions in various encampments in Haiti. It is now being projected that the current cholera will kill thousands, even though cholera was officially eliminated from Haiti almost 100 years ago

Filth ,vile, polluted water are flowing into rivers, and river water remains the source of water for domestic uses for more than 60% Haitians. Two million Haitians displaced and dislocated by the January earthquake have been living in tents camps in Port Au Prince its environ. All types wastes, human feces, and garbage generated from these overcrowded camps have produced admixtures of extremely unpleasant health consequences.

The dire conditions of these two million Haitians displaced, dislocated and made homeless by the cataclysmic earthquake is now made worse by the rainstorms which has engineered a flow and mixture of sludge generated by multitudes of Haitians confined to limited landmass without social amenities or facilities. Poor public infrastructures, the absence of a sewer system have been exacerbated by the earthquake.

Cholera outbreak in Haiti foreseen, predicted; These were all too probable, most probable!
Haiti My Love; We Are All Haitians Now; Haiti Cheri, Mon Amour, Je t'aime published in January 2010

Even for persons not in the medical field or trained in medicine anticipated these epidemics of cholera and other diseases. We registered our concerns regarding the looming or impending health hazards in congested camps without pubic infrastructures, facilities or amenities. Please see our article written a couple of days after the earthquake in January 2010 titled “Haiti My Love; We Are All Haitians Now; Haiti Cheri, Mon Amour, Je t'aime”

“There are concerns that there could be outbreaks of cholera, diarrhea and other diseases which might result from the now festering poor sanitary conditions and the scarcity of clean water, electricity, as well as exposed broken sewers. All these present logistical nightmares for search and rescue personnel, local and foreign, requiring dynamic modalities. And again, building local capacities is crucial, in view of long term considerations”

Only last month, on October 13th, I wrote another article “Haiti, 2 Million Persons Still Homeless 10 Months After Earthquake!” I wrote the following, expressing fears of probable cholera outbreak which has now come to pass, unfortunately! But it is was always foreseeable.

“There is still no water, no electricity available to all regularly and on steady, or reliable basis, there are continuing concerns for disease outbreaks of epidemic proportions, such as cholera and other diseases which are exacerbated by unsanitary conditions. The congested tents camps environment in which Haitians displaced by the earthquake now live, is said to be suffused and reek with raw sewage and rain water flowing in the camp being a common sight”

“It is really sad that 2 million Haitian are still homeless more than 10 months after earthquake which killed 230,000 people. It is so disconcerting that our microwave culture with short attention span, have forgotten or at least, have allowed the plights and predicaments of Haitians, victims of the worst earthquake, are abandoned and their abject conditions have receded to the back burner and recesses of our consciousness.”

“We spend two trillion dollars tangling with real and imagined enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and yet, we do not have the will and courage to provide basic human needs to the two million persons still homeless in the aftermath of the disastrous earthquake in Haiti?”

“It will be recalled that in the aftermath of the cataclysmic earthquake in January, there were almost a sense of eagerness by and between nations to openly compete and be seen as the largest donor and the best helper of the hapless people and nation of Haiti, but, almost a year has passed and only three nations, namely, Sweden, Norway and Brazil, have followed through and keep their promised and delivered on the monies pledged to Haiti relief and reconstruction efforts.”

“More than ten months after of the January 12, 2010 earthquake and 2 million Haitians still live on the streets in full public view, subject to the elements, heat, the rains, mudslides and hurricanes.”

“2 million Haitians are still subject to disease outbreaks such as cholera, dysentery and diseases from poor living conditions, poor sanitation and impure drinking source.”

“During the blitzkrieg in the aftermath of the earthquake in January, more than sixty nations promised money and material aid in excess of five billion dollars, but, six more later, only Brazil, Norway and Sweden has fulfilled and redeemed their pledges; but why is this the case? “

“But where are the nations who made loud promises and thereby deceived all of us, while giving Haitians false hope, and now, disappointment?”

Cholera was eliminated in Haiti decades before the earthquake on January 12, 2010. In the aftermath of that catastrophic earthquake however, many persons, expert and average persons, expressed the fear that unsanitary conditions in the camps or shelters where displaced and dislocated victims of the earthquake lived would soon cause epidemics, communicable diseases.

It has come to pass as predicted and predictably so, that there is now a cholera epidemic from outskirts of Port Au Prince and from the Haitian countryside, killing over 500 people and sickening almost 200,000 persons who may now be infected and would be hospitalized. There is now a growing concern that a cholera epidemic will infiltrate the estimated two million Haitian earthquake victims who are still in flimsy shelter in various camps in Port Au Prince, still displaced and dislocated 10 months after that cataclysmic earthquake

The United Nations is currently investigating the origin and source of the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Accusing fingers are currently being directed at UN Peacekeeping forces said to have had exposed septic system in close proximity to River Meille near the city of Mirebalais the epicenter and origin of the cholera outbreak which is now spreading north and to major cities, camp shelters, where it could wreak havoc in view of the population density and scarcity of clean water.

Where is the international community? And where is God? As expected there is cholera outbreak epidemic in Haiti and as equally expected, the epidemic is spreading Where is the so-called international community and goodwill? Where indeed is everybody? The UN says 200,000 could be infected and thousands killed, and cholera could spread to the Dominican republican neighbor nation of Haiti

Cholera in Nigeria, in Pakistan, and now, in the beleaguered nation of Haiti. Cholera is a tad too simple to prevent through the provision of clean water and good sanitation, sanitary systems. And the antidote to cholera is similarly simple to manage where the resources are available, such as salt and sugar solutions used in Oral Re-hydration Therapy or ORT to prevent dehydration or in worst cases, antibiotic treatment therapies are employed to address acute cases, and yet, in all the cited cases in Nigeria, Pakistan and Haiti this years, thousands are already dead! In a world of plenty and so much abundance?

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