Cholera In Haiti Killing Hundreds Each Month

Hundreds of people a month are dying of the easily treatable waterborne disease cholera in the small island nation of Haiti.

The disease, which broke out a little over a year ago, has already killed 6,700 Haitians and infected nearly 500,000 people.

The spread of the disease was initially curbed by NGOs working to provide assistance in the country, however, with the onset of the country’s rainy season in August the numbers of people impacted by the disease began to spike again and cholera is now killing more people in Haiti than anywhere else in the world.

Much of the earthquake devastated country suffers from poor sanitation conditions, an estimated 80 percent of the population does not have access to latrines, and more than half of the Haitian population does not have access to safe drinking water. Further complicating the situation is the fact that 550,000 people continue to live in displacement camps following the devastating 2010 earthquake that rocked the small nation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called the conditions in Haiti a “perfect storm for a massive epidemic of cholera.”

Nevertheless, humanitarian agencies are scaling back operations in the country due to a lack of funding even though the disease shows no signs of slowing down.

Earlier this month, a Boston-based human rights group filed claims against the United Nations over allegations that the international group is responsible for negligent introductions of cholera in the country.

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH-BAI) said that more than 5,000 Haitians have submitted claims to the U.N. and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known as Minustah, for causing a cholera outbreak in the country.

Prior to the 2010 outbreak, Haiti has not witnessed a case of cholera in more than a century.

Victims argued that the U.N. is responsible for the outbreak as it failed to properly screen its peacekeeping battalions, one of which came from Nepal where cholera is rampant.

Earlier in the year, the U.N. appointed an independent panel to investigate the cholera claims. The panel released a report in May that detailed that the cholera bacteria indeed originated from outside the country and found that the outbreak matched strains from Nepal.