The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes to help the Haitian government in its fight against cholera. The Haitian government has proposed a plan that would require an estimated $2.2 billion in investment over the next ten years to eliminate cholera.

The recent cholera outbreak can be traced back, to a large extent, to the 2010 earthquake that toppled buildings, destroyed infrastructure, and killed more than 250,000. The devastation also ruined irrigation systems, wells, sanitary plumbing, and sewers. Those damages to water security and cleanliness are thought to have contributed to the recent spread of cholera that the country has been experiencing.

Haiti’s plan will focus on repairing sanitation, and providing greater access to clean water as well as rebuilding other water facilities. Before 2010 Haiti was reported to have the lowest rate of sanitation coverage in the Americas. A true sign of promise for this program is that it has been designed by the Haitian government and they are reaching out so openly to the international community. As previous programs around the world have shown, local ownership is a huge factor in the success of any aid program and Haiti’s ownership and openness are both good omens for their National Plan to Eliminate Cholera in Haiti.

– Kevin Sullivan

Source: SKYN Vibes, The Telegraph

The nation of Mozambique experienced one of the worst floods in recent history due to extremely high amounts of rainfall throughout the month of January. The province of Gaza has been especially damaged by floodwater. Over 250,000 have been affected by the floods, with 150,000 people forced out of their homes in the province and over 100 killed.

While the victims of flooding in Mozambique are dealing with destroyed homes and families, the natural disaster has been exacerbated by the outbreak of cholera. There have been over 250 cases so far, fortunately no cases have proved fatal. Mozambique has experienced problems with cholera for years, so their response has been effective thus far. However, the potential for more flooding means that they must remain vigilant.

The complete rebuilding effort is estimated to cost over $30 million, according to The Humanitarian Country Team in Mozambique, an organization comprised of NGO and UN officials. UNICEF itself seeks $6.8 million from this fund to pay for projects to improve the welfare of children and those around them, like building clean water pumps and constructing new homes.

According to Jesper Morch of UNICEF, “emergency supplies and funding has been depleted…we urgently need additional funds if we are to help many children and families recover.”

Jake Simon

Sources: news24, UNICEF, Al Jazeera
Photo: Times Live

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no evidence that anyone in Haiti had ever gotten cholera before 2010. However, since the outbreak began that year, almost half a million Haitians have gotten the disease, and nearly 8,000 have been killed by it.

Cholera is a horrible disease with a surprisingly simple treatment. Victims suffer from extreme diarrhea, but if they are constantly supplied with oral re-hydration in order to replace lost water and electrolytes, they will almost always survive. Unfortunately, poor infrastructure and a lack of water sanitation systems has resulted in many Haitians not getting the treatment they need.

As a result of these deaths, the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti has filed a claim against the UN, stating that evidence demonstrates that the UN was responsible for the outbreak in the first place. Allegedly, UN troops from Nepal were carrying the disease as they were sent to Haiti to assist after the 2010 Earthquake.

On Thursday, February 21, 2013, the UN rejected the Institute’s claim on the basis of diplomatic immunity. Although there are many efforts at the international level to eradicate the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the U.N.’s official decision states that “the claims are ‘not receivable’ because they concern ‘a review of political and policy matters.'” As the UN refuses to compensate Haitian cholera victims, thousands more may suffer until enough money can be raised to implement Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s plan for eradicating cholera in the region.

Jake Simon

Source: U.S. News
Photo: The Guardian