Haiti cholera child sick 311.
(photo credit: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Almost a year since an earthquake struck Haiti, killing at least 200,000 people
and reducing much of its capital of Port-au-Prince to rubble, authorities in the
impoverished Caribbean nation are now struggling to contain a new disaster from
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Over the past month about 1,200 Haitians have died in an
outbreak of cholera while thousands more have sought treatment in
International aid organizations including Israeli and Jewish
groups have rushed into action trying to help the UN bring the situation under
On Monday the UN declared IsraAID’s clinic in Leogane, a town
located about 30 kilometers west of Port-au-Prince, a cholera treatment
Since the announcement, the facility’s Israeli, Canadian and
local staff have been preparing for the expected influx of patients by adding
dozens of beds and stocking up on medical supplies.
“There’s a large
auditorium behind our clinic which we’ve cleaned filled with beds,” Shachar
Zahavi, the head of IsraAID, said on Monday. “The largest medical center in the
area is a Doctors Without Borders facility nearby, but UN officials who visited
our facility were impressed with our work and designated us to be the area’s
second treatment center.”
Since it opened last September, the
IsraAid-Tevel center, which is fully funded by the UJA Federation of Greater
Toronto, has treated hundreds of patients for various
Meanwhile, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
(JDC) on Monday said its widespread aid program was going ahead as usual despite
the instability brought about by the epidemic.
“We’re doing a number of
projects with the nine clinics working with local medical staff which is very
important,” Judy Amit, JDC’s global director of international development, said.
“We’re shipping in supplies, IV bags, saline solutions, to rehydrate people and
tents. In addition we’re sending antibiotics together with the [Israeli] Foreign
Last week Haitians stormed a UN base just outside the capital
held by Nepalese troops, which they blamed for spreading cholera around the
country, which hasn’t had an outbreak of the disease in decades.
riots were isolated,” Amit, who just returned from Haiti, said. “During the five
days I was there it’s been described as tires burning in the streets and chaos.
But there’s no sense that the city is being ravaged.
A lot of the local
anger is to do with education.
People do not understand the connection
between sewage and clean water sources. Also the pile up of garbage is
Despite the riots and threat that the epidemic will spread
further, Haitians will go to the ballots this Sunday to vote in a new
“I don’t know [if the elections will go ahead smoothly,” Amit
said. “I’m there to provide humanitarian aid. The cholera outbreak was expected
and I hope a strong government comes into a power so that they can push things