Cholera returns to Haiti as nation lurches from one crisis to the next
The cholera epidemic that ravaged Haiti last year will be coming back, says Cholera Control Unit director, Dr. Eric Ndongo, and President Michel Martelly is expected to seek approval for a second vaccination campaign from the World Health Organization.
A new cholera outbreak in north Haiti. (AP)
A cholera outbreak that hit an already stricken nation will strike again, says the director of the country’s disease control unit.
And he says that as Haiti’s economic troubles grow, the country could be pushed to the brink of a second humanitarian crisis.
“The cholera epidemic that affected Haiti last year will be coming back,” said Dr. Eric Ndongo, director-general of the cholera control unit. “At some point in the near future, we could have a new outbreak.”
Nearly 8,000 people died in 2009 and, as of last July, there were more than 100 infections in Haiti.
A new cholera outbreak in the northern part of Haiti. (AP)
The outbreak has prompted an unprecedented response from the international community including $7 million in cholera vaccine assistance from the U.N. and $300,000 from the World Bank.
But Ndongo said that as Haiti’s economy continues to struggle, the country could begin to fall back into a state of protracted emergency if the current outbreak isn’t quickly stopped.
“With the financial crisis worsening, we’re now in an extremely fragile situation that could push us over a crisis,” he said.
The cholera outbreak, which began last week, has been accompanied by sporadic flooding in both the northern and southern regions of Haiti.
Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which began last July, has put 20,000 people at risk in the country, according to UN officials, who say more than 3,000 people have been infected. The cholera has killed more than 2,000 people, including 2,700 Haitians and more than 1,100 foreigners.
Ndongo said the outbreak has