Haiti suffers under strain of cholera
Aid arrives but cholera now the big concern
Helicopters ferried in food and medicine to devastated southwestern Haiti and aid officials said they were trying to get it to increasingly desperate communities still isolated almost a week after being hit by Hurricane Matthew.
Power was still out, water and food were scarce, and officials said that young men in villages along the road between the hard-hit cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie were putting up blockades of rocks and broken branches to halt convoys of vehicles bringing relief supplies.
One convoy carrying food, water and medications was attacked by gunmen in a remote valley where there had been a mudslide, said Frednel Kedler, coordinator for the Civil Protection Agency in the GrandAnse department that includes Jeremie. He said authorities would try to reach marooned and desperate communities west of Jeremie.
The National Civil Protection headquarters in Port-au-Prince raised its official nationwide death toll to 372, which included 198 deaths in Grand-Anse. Local officials have said the toll tops 500 in Grand-Anse alone.
UN officials said that at least 1.4 million people across the region need assistance and that 2.1 million overall have been affected by the hurricane. Some 175,000 people remained in shelters.
Concern also was growing that the hurricane’s devastation has caused an increase in increase in cholera cases and deaths in the country, where an ongoing cholera outbreak has already killed roughly 10,000 people in the country and sickened more than 800,000 since 2010.
Roosevelt Zamos, an official with the Civil Protection Agency, said that there were 40 cases of cholera in Jeremie alone. He said eight people have died of cholera in the Grand-Anse department since the storm.
Dr. Thiery Francois, lead doctor at the cholera centre at Jeremie’s main hospital said he didn't know how new cholera cases had been caused by the storm nationwide. “Certainly there are cases we don’t know anything about,” he said.
‘Certainly there are cases we don’t know anything about’ – Dr Thiery Francois on Haiti’s growing cholera concerns
DESTROYED: Residents walk amidst debris in Haiti