October 24, 2010

More Deaths in Haiti. More Shocks As Well.

I awoke this morning and checked the news from Haiti.  The mainstream media now confirms that the cholera outbreak has reached the capital Port-au-Prince.  According to Reuters a UN humanitarian spokeswoman said that the 5 known cases:

Were very quickly diagnosed and isolated. This is not a new location of infection. Obviously, preventing the disease spreading to the city is an absolutely paramount concern right now.

However as Reuters also points out:

Prevention measures and surveillance were being increased in Port-au-Prince, with its squalid sprawling slums and about 1.3 million survivors of the January 12 earthquake packed into tent and tarpaulin camps. All are highly vulnerable to a virulent diarrheal disease like cholera.

It is the worst medical emergency to strike the poor, disaster-prone Caribbean nation since the earthquake killed up to 300,000 people and is also the first cholera epidemic in Haiti in a century.

They may be being "increased", but Daniel Rouzier of U.S.-based charity Food for the Poor is not impressed with the prevention measures taken so far:

Right now, it's been over 72 hours. There is no safety cordon. If the sick had the proper healthcare where they were, they wouldn't have come to this chaotic city.

The death toll so far is now being reported as a total of 208:

Haitian health officials told a news conference on Saturday that 194 people had died from cholera in the Artibonite region, the main outbreak zone, with 14 other deaths in neighboring Central Plateau, where a prison was among places affected.

There are also reports on Twitter that the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince were shaken in their beds last night by yet another earth tremor. First reports suggest these emanated from a 4.6 magnitude earthquake centred below the ocean North-east of Puerto Rico.

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