Death toll mounting in growing cholera outbreak on Haiti / by Morning Star Editors

Patients with cholera symptoms sit in a centre at a cholera clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

DEATHS are mounting in a growing cholera outbreak in Haiti.

After more than three years with no cases, the national authorities reported two confirmed cases of Vibrio cholerae O1 in the Port-au-Prince area at the start of this month and, as of last week, the Ministry of Health had reported 47 cases confirmed and 35 deaths in the West and Central departments.

Civil unrest, lack of access to affected populations and fuel and logistics constraints are hindering the emergency response operations, according to the Pan American Health Organisation, and difficulties accessing water present a high risk that the outbreak will spread to other departments in the Caribbean country.

It follows Friday’s report that a record 4.7 million people in Haiti are facing acute hunger, including 19,000 in catastrophic famine conditions for the first time, in a slum controlled by gangs in the capital.

Haiti has been gripped by inflation and political gridlock that have sparked protests and brought society to breaking point.

Daily life in the country began to spin out of control last month hours after Prime Minister Ariel Henry said that fuel subsidies would be eliminated, causing prices to double.

The rising prices have put food and fuel out of reach of many Haitians, and clean water is scarce.

“Harvest losses due to below-average rainfall and last year’s earthquake that devastated parts of the country’s south are among the shocks that worsened conditions for people,” UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said, while violence, unrest and tensions in Cite Soleil have limited access by aid workers to the district.

“So, we don’t know necessarily how bad it’s getting, although it’s very clear it’s very bad indeed. And we need to get access to people: we need to make sure that we can get food to people,” he said.

Morning Star: The People’s Daily (UK), October 17, 2022,