Haiti’s Cholera Outbreak and What’s Being Done

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on June 17th, 2017

Spring is coming to an end, and we hope all our supporters are looking forward to a wonderful summer. We wish to bring you an update on the work The Brian Young Foundation is doing here on the island of Haiti and how our efforts have progressed over the weeks. From the outside eye, the roads are beginning to look clearer, structures are being rebuilt. But the face of struggle in Haiti has changed. An epidemic of cholera has ravished the island, and the immediate needs of the nation have shifted.

For the island of Haiti, cholera is not a new obstacle. Instead, it has been an uphill battle since the first earthquake hit seven years ago. Hospitals were lost, as well as healthcare providers. Damaged infrastructure made it difficult to get the supplies needed to treat and prevent the disease. The outbreak occurred at such a rapid pace that Haiti was never able to get it under control. Since 2010, cholera has infected 800,000 people in Haiti and killed more than 9,000.

While efforts have mainly focused on curbing the spread of the disease, some investigation has been put into tracing the outbreak back to its origin. It is believed that United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal unintentionally unleashed vibrio cholerae into a stream near their temporary camp. Transmitted through human waste, vibrio cholerae is a devastating microbe that inflicts severe diarrhea, causing fatal dehydration. The water supply was quickly contaminated, and the virus spread rapidly across the island.

Late last year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a promising plan to help Haiti called “The New Approach.” The initiative is meant to correct the unfortunate mistakes that lead to the cholera epidemic that has crippled the nation’s recovery. Ban Ki-moon promised to gather donations from countries across the globe, including other members of the United Nations. The goal is to fundraise $400 million in aid, which will go directly to the brave survivors of the catastrophes the country has been facing. The funds will be used to address the nation’s clean water and sanitation crisis, a crucial element to curbing the epidemic. But currently, they have only fundraised 2 percent of their goal.

This proposal came before Hurricane Matthew unexpectedly hit the southern coast of Haiti, triggering another surge of cholera cases. Before the hurricane hit, 28,000 cases had been recorded this year. According to The World Health Organization, there were 800 cases of cholera reported the week right after. Things are only getting worse, and the epidemic is getting harder to control. Humanitarian advocates on the island estimate 30,000 more people will contract cholera by the end of 2017.

We at The Brian Young Foundation ask for our donors to keep us in their prayers. With the rainy hurricane season upon us, healthcare volunteers across the island are in fear of the upcoming months. We continue to work alongside orphanages to ensure the already vulnerable children they house are provided with clean, hygienic water sources. With your support and God’s love, we can overcome this epidemic.

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