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Haiti's Cholera Epidemic: Mounting Illnesses and Deaths, Inadequate Aid


By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 21 November 2010

Haiti's Cholera Epidemic: Mounting Illnesses and Deaths, Inadequate Aid - by Stephen Lendman

Three previous articles on the crisis can be accessed through the following links:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/11/haitis-cholera-outbreak-disease-of...

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/11/cholera-outbreak-hits-por-au-princ...

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/11/haitis-cholera-epidemic-sparks-out...

More will follow as events dictate.

In America, especially on TV, Haiti's epidemic gets scant, if any, coverage. In contrast, daily independent news reports are alarming. Yet, despite raging cholera across Haiti, aid is woefully inadequate. A November 19 Doctors With Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres - MSF) press release headlined, "Cholera in Haiti: MSF Calling on All Actors to Step Up Response," saying:

"While cholera spreads, slow deployment of relief is (a) major concern. Critical shortfalls in the deployment of well-established measures to contain cholera epidemics are undermining efforts to stem the ongoing cholera outbreak in Haiti."

Head of Haiti mission, Stefano Zannini, "call(ed) on all groups and agencies present in Haiti to step up the size and speed of their efforts to ensure an effective response to the needs of people at risk of cholera infection."

"There is no time left for meetings and debate - the time for action is now." The epidemic has spread to at least eight of Haiti's 10 provinces.

Essentials needed include:

-- safe chlorinated water;

-- latrines and regular waste removal;

-- mass distribution of soap;

-- effective waste management and removal at medical facilities to prevent contamination;

-- waste disposal sites near urban areas;

-- adequate oral rehydration points in affected areas;

-- establishing enough safe, effective treatment centers; and

-- quickly locating, removing, and burying dead bodies.

Since the outbreak, MSF set up over 20 treatment centers throughout Port-au-Prince, the Artibonite region (where the outbreak originated), and in Haiti's north. So far, MSF teams have treated over 16,500 people through November 16, likely many more by now.

MSF also brought in over 240 tons of medical and logistical supplies, and has more than 1,000 Haitian staff and 150 of its own international professionals concentrating on this disease. Press officer Caroline Seguin stressed that cholera is easily preventable and treatable if done in time. "It may be new to Haiti, but the ways to prevent and treat it are long established."

However, without a major, immediate "scale up of necessary measures by international agencies and the government of Haiti, we alone cannot contain this outbreak." So far, that effort has been disturbingly lacking, despite hundreds of newly sick reported daily, adding more to the growing toll.

As of November 16, Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) acknowledged 19,646 cases and 1,186 deaths. Even by the most conservative estimates, those numbers are much higher.

Partners in Health reported more cases in the Artibonite/Central Plateau region as well as in Haiti's Central and Western departments. Metropolitan Port-au-Prince is also affected, including in Cite Soleil, Carrefor, Delmas, Kenscoff, Petion Ville, and Tabarre. Since mid-November, the North and Northwest departments experienced a significant rise in cases.

On November 20, Operational Biosurveillance said the most conservative estimate is nearly 80,000 cases, stressing:

"we have confirmation that in-patient statistics are underreported by as much as 400%. In many areas of Haiti, we are documenting outbreaks that are not being accounted for in the official statistics. We therefore estimate the upper bound of estimated case counts to be 300,000." Counting "subclinical infections....the true community load will be (close) to 800,000. We err on the side of over-estimating because this is a 'virgin soil' epidemic and expected to aggressively spread throughout the country and across the border into the Dominican Republic....We expect to see medical clinic inundations inside the DR in the near future."

Florida also reported one case in a returned traveler. America will experience more. However, "Implications for the United States are negligible," given many treatment facilities in most areas.

Street Protests Continue

Anger across Haiti is visible and visceral, given inadequate aid, hatred of the oppressive UN force, and confirmation that Haiti's cholera strain is Asian, introduced by UN Nepalese troops in the Artibonite region where the first outbreak occurred. On November 18, Claes Hammer, Sweden's Haiti ambassador, told the daily Svenska Dagbladt that tests showed:

"Unfortunately that is the case. It has proved that the cholera came from Nepal....It is 100% true. Tests were made and the source was traced to Nepal....This is obviously a strain of the disease that is prevalent in Nepal and now it seems that (it) ended up in Haiti. I have received the information from a diplomatic source. It is 100% accurate. We have taken samples and traced the infection to Nepal."

The UN humanitarian coordinator, Nigel Fisher, also told Canada's CBC that a French epidemiologist's study confirmed the cholera strain was Nepalese. He added that under appalling conditions, "The epidemic is not going to go away. It is almost impossible to stop."

America's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tried to downplay it, saying little about its severity and only that the strain is "most similar" to South Asian ones. Nepal's Army spokesman, Ramindra Chettri, denied his country's origination, saying:

"The UN has already issued a press release saying the Nepalese forces were not responsible for the cholera outbreak after conducting a series of tests."

The last refuge of a scoundrel caught red-handed is lying, this one based in the originating Artibonite region, its waters fouled by cholera. It's now also confirmed that Nepalese troops dump sewage into the Artibonite River, increasing its contamination.

On November 19, Al Jazeera headlined, "Cholera unrest hits Haiti capital," saying:

Along with outbreaks in other parts of the country, Al Jazeera's Cath Turner said rioting escalated in Port-au-Prince. In response, police fired tear gas:

"into a camp for internally displaced people....The military wing of the National Police (struck) homeless camps across the road from the national parliament - Champ de Mars. Sources are telling us that there are scenes of parents and kids running around there trying to escape" the effects. "There are also UN troops monitoring this, and there are reports that they earlier fired tear gas at protesters. So really things are coming to a head now."

According to Radio Metropole, police and protesters clashed near the National Palace. In other parts of the city, Haitians erected barricades, burned tires, and tore down campaign posters for President Rene Preval's hand-picked successor, Jude Celestin. First round presidential and legislative elections are still scheduled for November 28 despite the epidemic, appalling conditions in earthquake struck areas, the effects of Hurricane Tomas, and 14 parties banned, including by far the most popular, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas.

A Final Comment

Post-quake, minimal amounts of aid were provided, despite billions of dollars pledged or delivered. Now cholera, a raging epidemic likely to claim many thousands of lives because of Western indifference, especially by Washington that delivered nothing. UN efforts also fell far short, OCHA spokeswoman, Imogen Wall, telling Reuters that only $5 million of its $164 million request to fight cholera was received.

"The response is completely inadequate and in this situation where we are against the clock we urgently need support if we are going to save lives. (Yet), We don't have what we need to do it....Cholera is a race against time. If we can get to people, and if we have what we need, we" can save lives.

Lack of enough aid prevents it, leaving most Haitians on their own, especially those unable to access treatment. Reports now say dead bodies are on streets and in homes. It's a shocking indictment of indifferent rich nations, easily able to provide enough help but won't. Haitians are devastated for lack of it. Daily their situation worsens, the final toll too disturbing to imagine.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Tags

It's not Kevin Pina who said that the bandits must be killed. That was said on Oct. 8th, 2004 by General Helena Ribera of the so-called UN peacekeeping force in Haiti and the bandits were innocent Haitians opposed to the coup d'etat lead by the US, Canada and France.

"HAITI: We Must Kill the BANDITS" (2:14)

longmemoryprod, May 7th, 2007

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RSZI3zUqkM

This is a video the UN and Haiti's presidential contenders in the 2010 elections don't want you to see!

See: www.HaitiInformationProject.net

(snip - a link for a video at haitixchangetv.magnify.net)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=PszFUqUGB7k

(snip - an invalid Youtube link)

Filmmaker Kevin Pina challenges the contemporary view of Haiti, revealing the hidden role of the 'international community' in Haitian politics. This provocative and lively film takes the viewer into parts of Haiti where few Western journalists dare to tread, and includes shocking footage of unreported human rights abuses, some which have been astonishingly conducted by UN forces. Pina's film stands out because it connects the tragic events in Haiti with what he assesses as foreign intervention designed to deter democracy. Learn the side of the Haiti coverage not seen in the corporate news media.

The Youtube link in the above text is for "The Real Reel of Kevin Pina - PART 3" (7:46) and I haven't viewed it yet, but links for parts 1 and 2 are to the right of the part 3 video, and it should be important; based on excellent reporting Kevin Pina did and that I read.

The home page of HaitiInformationProject.net, HIP, presently displays an ad or notice about Kevin Pina's documentary film, "HAITI: We Must Kill the BANDITS", and I'll quote some of what the HIP page says about the film.

Filmmaker Kevin Pina challenges the contemporary view of Haiti, revealing the hidden role of the 'international community' in Haitian politics. This provocative and lively film takes the viewer into parts of Haiti where few Western journalists dare to tread, and includes shocking footage of unreported human rights abuses, some which have been astronishingly conducted by UN forces. Pina's film stands out because it connects the tragic events in Haiti with what he assesses as foreign intervention designed to deter democracy. Learn the side of the Haiti coverage not seen in the corporate news media.

Definitely check out the HIP home page, and HIP.

The following is a slightly more generous clip from the film and certainly worth listening to.

"Haiti: We must kill the BANDITS - The Premise" (5:42)

longmemoryprod, Jan.29, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKUp5K66Zuk

This is the opening of the final version of the film. It offers the rationale and narrative voice of the final project.

Searching Youtube for "Haiti: We must kill the BANDITS" (quoted) turns up more links and most, but not all were posted by longmemoryprod; and the latter include the three parts for "The Real Reel of Kevin Pina".

The three parties are also for demanding the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide so that he can at least be in Haiti as a civilian. It's an alliance between Rene Civil, Jean-Henry Céant, and Chavannes Jean-Baptiste.

"Céant tackles Haiti's current issues with a surprising alliance between bitter rivals"

by Randall White, Nov. 20th, 2010

www.haitiaction.net/News/RAW/11_20_10/11_20_10.html

Haiti Action.net - Port au Prince, Haiti — After a short night in Port au Prince, Rene Civil's advance vehicle was picking up members of Haiti's press again, this time to catch up with the Jean-Henry Céant presidential campaign caravan in the Central Department. For several Lavalas activists, with the campaign, it was the first time they would be in the Central town of Hinche since the US–sponsored Coup d'État of February 29, 2004. A new Céant poster was taped up inside the windshield prominently next to the Aristide poster that had been riding in that location for the last two days.

After a quick stop in the mountains for some very tasty and funky Haitian pork stew, rice & beans — washed down by the local energy drink, Toro — Civil's car sped to the Central town where Céant was already speaking. After climbing a minimally supporting and new staircase, our late arrival got some friendly ribbing by a — totally unexpected, by this reporter — well known figure to the Central Department, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste.

Soon, Civil was speaking again and the crowd shouted its overwhelming approval of the campaign promise to return President Jean Bertrand Aristide back to Haiti to continue his work. It wouldn't be until the next day that the story behind Chavannes' — and the Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP) — calling for the return of Aristide and joining in an alliance with former rivals in electing Jean-Henry Céant as President of Haiti would begin to emerge. It came as no surprise that the criminal negligence of the UN and the US response to the Cholera Epidemic was key to that alliance.

That night Céant, Civil and Chavannes went to the main radio station in Hinche and fielded many questions from the radio host and listening audience of Radio Leve Kanpe while the caravan waitied in the field nearby.

(snip)

Very recent interview with Jean-Bertrand Aristide:

"Aristide Speaks from South Africa
Nicolas Rossier interviews deposed Haitian president"

by Nicolas Rossier, "an award winning independent filmmaker and reporter who lives in Brooklyn", NY, Nov. 16th, 2010

www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/aristide-speaks-south-africa

In this frank and wide-ranging discussion, the deposed president of Haiti addresses French racism and those forces in the U.S. and Haiti that oppose his return from South African exile, the devastations his countrymen have endured since his ouster, and the Haitian people’s desire for freedom and self-determination. The upcoming elections, which will once again exclude Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas political party, are a farce. “They are not planning to have free and fair democratic elections. They are planning to have a selection.”

(snip)

The following is a Nov. 13th copy.

www.uruknet.info/?p=m71832

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