November 9, 2010
Cholera Outbreak Confirmed in Port-au-Prince
The BBC reports this evening that the cholera outbreak in Haiti is now entrenched in the capital Port-au-Prince:
Doctors are treating 73 people for the disease, amid fears that it could spread across the quake-hit city. Dozens of suspected cases are also being investigated in Port-au-Prince, which has feared an outbreak since October.
At long last the mainstream British media are doing some in depth reporting. Here's Channel 4's Jon Snow on the ground in Haiti, including an interview with Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive:
The Haitian health ministry now says that 583 people in total have died from cholera in Haiti, and the health minister Ariel Henry said that a sizeable outbreak in Port-au-Prince appeared likely.
Jon Kim Andrus, the deputy director of the Pan American Health Organisation said that:
We have every reason to expect that the widespread flooding has increased the risk of cholera spreading
The PAHO says there could be an "upsurge" in cholera cases in Haiti in the coming days as a result of water and sanitation problems caused by Hurricane Tomas at the end of last week.
In other news from Haiti Reuters reports that the death toll from the flooding caused by Hurricane Tomas has now reached 20. Reuters also suggest that:
With U.N. peacekeepers and humanitarian agencies stretched between the storm and cholera response and the post-quake recovery, questions have arisen over whether Haiti can hold credible presidential and legislative elections as scheduled on Nov. 28.
Despite those questions the U.N.'s top representative in the country, Edmond Mulet, said no discussions were being held with the government and electoral authorities about postponing the polls:
There are no objective reasons not to have elections on Nov. 28. Technically, logistically, security, budget, all is in place
Analysts say the elections could be the most important in Haiti's history, but many see the path to the polls threatened by risks of political violence, as well as the huge humanitarian challenges.
As if all that wasn't enough to worry about the National Hurricane Center is currently keeping a close watch on an area of thunderstorms in the N.E. Caribbean:
There is a 10% chance of this system becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 24 hours. This disturbance is expected to produce locally heavy rainfall over portions of the northern Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico during the next day or two.
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