On Tuesday January 12, 2010, a major earthquake struck the southern part of Haiti and devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince. Although the exact numbers was difficult to estimate, reportedly more than 230,000 people were killed. About one and a half hour north of port-au-prince a cholera outbreak could heighten the misery caused by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti 10 months ago. Health authorities and aid workers are trying to keep the cholera outbreak out of Port-au-Prince where 1.3 million earthquake survivors live in camps. So far five cholera patients have been reported in the densely populated capital, and most recent report from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) states that the disease has killed over 135 people in rural areas and more than 1,500 people are being treated at Saint Nicholas Hospital in the southern part of Artibonite, Haiti.
Cholera is a highly infectious disease, often fatal disease caused by ingestion of contaminated food and water. The bacterium can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. With patients dying within three hours of becoming infected, the UNCIF rushes aid to help contain the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Cable News Network (CNN) stated that the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will send an eleven- member team to Haiti over the next few days to find out which antibiotics will be most effective in treating the cholera outbreak. Eric Lotz, Haiti’s national director for nonprofit Operation Blessing, describes a “horrific” scene outside Saint Nicolas Hospital, as patients and their family members fought to get care. Sandrellie Seraphin, who works for Partners in health and the Clinton Foundation, visited the hospital. She told CNN by phone “it’s terrible” as she describe the crowd of people trying to get help. “There’s a great fear among the people” about the disease.
The government and most of the region of Port-au-Prince was destroyed and it will be a long time before the economy can function again. People now are only concern about survival. Half of the populations are under the age of 21, so the immediate future will be very mobile. For example, the young population can travel and bring goods back to the country. The US and a couple of other countries promised to stand with Haiti as a “friend and partner”, and pledge to help Haiti months after the earthquake Haiti has not received a penny. Haiti was isolated from Birth because it was the first republic of people of African descent and the second oldest nation in the Americas.
United Nations international Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) 2010
Associated Press (AP) 2010.
The New York Times 2010.