As you know for close to three weeks the entire country of Haiti has been engulfed in violent protests which has forced millions to shelter in place. When you add three weeks of shutdown to an already fragile country where people are simply trying to survive and living day to day, there are even more disastrous time bombs that will inevitably go off.
Now one of these has exploded.
Clean potable water is not available in Port-au-Prince, so the population must buy all their drinking water from vendors. With the violence that made it too dangerous to venture out, millions ran out of drinking water. Making matters worse, water plants that produce said clean water have also been forced to cease operations as they have no fuel to power their generators. The end result is that people have been forced to do what they can to get water wherever they can.
The inevitable and tragic results were sure to come.
For two days I have been managing unconfirmed reports of cases of Cholera in Port-au-Prince.
Yesterday, after three years of no Cholera cases in Haiti, our worst fears have come to pass and Cholera cases have been officially confirmed. Critical patients are already streaming in to the few hospitals that remain open. Previous recent Cholera outbreaks in Haiti killed 10,000 people and this new outbreak could lead to thousands of deaths very, very quickly.
At HAS we have activated our emergency Cholera response efforts and our staff is busy preparing for the potential influx of desperately ill patients. We are once again working our water purifying machines at capacity to produce sanitizer and are setting up a dedicated Cholera treatment area.
Our brave staff were already stretched thin by the violence of the last three weeks which has taken a heavy toll on them and their families. At HAS, we were already struggling with drastically limited fuel as well as a stressed inventory of essential medicines and supplies. So, this potential outbreak is coming at the worst possible time.
As usual, thank you so much for your past support of HAS. If you can, please consider supporting our efforts to respond to this unfolding humanitarian crisis.
Jean Marc de Matteis