The death toll for Haiti’s cholera outbreak has reached 544, health officials said Monday.
Thousands more are being treated in hospitals for the intestinal disease that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Cholera can be fatal even though it can be easily treated through rehydration and antibiotics. But in a country that lacked access to clean water even before the January earthquake, treatment is not always within reach.
Hurricane Tomas, which brought heavy rains last week, raised fear that the disease could worsen. Cholera spreads through contaminated water and the hurricane triggered flooding and mudslides in some areas. more >>
The standard of living in Haiti had not progressed much for decades and the earthquake just made life “exponentially worse,” said a mission leader who had lived in Port-au-Prince for two years.
“It is one of those nations where the level of human suffering and deprivation is just constant,” said John Boyd, president of Mission Aviation Fellowship. “Let me put it for you this way, the average Haitian who lived in a shack before the earthquake, now lives under plastic sheeting. It is not even a tent.”
MAF has served in Haiti since 1986 and is the sole operator that offers flights within the country. After the Jan. 12 earthquake, MAF was the first to provide flights to transport emergency responders, medical teams, supplies, and victims. more >>
Habitat for Humanity received this week its largest single donation by a faith community for its Haiti earthquake-recovery efforts.
The African-American Baptist Mission Collaboration, composed of five African-American Baptist groups, gave a $500,000 check to Habitat on Tuesday. The check is the coalition’s first toward its five-year, $50 million commitment for the Haiti rebuilding effort.
“We are inspired to invest in this ministry for housing solutions, because we are following the teachings of Jesus who said that when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and give shelter to those without shelter that we do this for him,” said Dr. Stephen John Thurston, president of the National Baptist Convention of America. “We do this for Jesus, and we do this for those who suffer in Haiti.” more >>
Laura Silsby, the leader of the 10 U.S. volunteers accused of illegally taking dozens of children out of Haiti, was convicted Monday but then freed to return to the United States.
The judge said she had already served her time in prison and was subsequently released. Silsby, the last of the 10 Christian volunteers to be freed, was scheduled to board a flight back to the United States Monday evening, her attorney Chiller Roy told CNN.
In April, the judge dropped the charges of kidnapping minors and criminal association against all 10 volunteers. However, Silsby faced and was convicted Monday of arranging irregular travel. more >>
A U.S. Christian who was arrested for trying to take dozens of children out of Haiti stood trial Thursday.
Laura Silsby testified that she only wanted to help the Haitian children.
"One week after the earthquake I left my family and my home to help children that had been orphaned in the earthquake," she said on the first day of her trial, according to The Associated Press. "We came here with a heart to help." more >>
Kidnapping and criminal association charges against 10 U.S. Christians who tried to transport Haitian children out of the country to an orphanage have been dropped.
However, the leader of the group of volunteers, Laura Silsby, still faces a charge of arranging irregular travel and will stand trial in Haiti, Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said Monday.
Silsby, who remains jailed in the Caribbean country, could face up to three years in prison if convicted. more >>