Haiti’s cholera death toll rises to 136 as outbreak gets ‘worse and worse every day’ – and the United Nations warned last night that it risks being ‘completely overwhelmed.’ Last week a new cholera fatality was reported in Port-au-Prince – but the number of infections soared to over 200. Over the weekend, the US ambassador to Haiti said the disease – which causes severe diarrhoea and causes dehydration – was being ‘exponentially increasing’.
And yesterday a UN special envoy warned that the outbreak is ‘getting worse and worse every day’. As a result, Haiti will run out of essential medicines within three months, said Dr Denis Mabile, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. He said there are no drugs to treat cholera yet. “The worst thing that can happen [to Haiti] is when the cholera epidemic passes, we pass the epidemic. We pass it by, we don’t know how to treat it, or when we understand cholera and we have it, we have it,” he said.
“When we have cholera, it’s a long and dangerous journey to get to a hospital, to be treated or to die. The cholera is a terrible disease, but it’s a terrible journey to get to a hospital.” “We are at a critical point. There are already 50,000-70,000 people who have died, and that means that the chances of survival are pretty slim. This epidemic is going to get worse and worse every day.” Meanwhile, the UN World Food Program called for an emergency appeal to help treat cholera victims in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The World Food Program said it will be ‘the biggest single donor of cholera vaccines’ in the developing world. But it said it has been badly hit by the epidemic, with only 40 per cent of the food it distributed to people in earthquake-ravaged Haiti getting through. The UN body said that in the Dominican Republic, a country where the number of cases of cholera are rising rapidly, and where more than a third of the population is affected, it has so far ‘distributed more than 8,000 tonnes of food’, while it has ‘also dispatched food stocks and medicines and other important humanitarian relief to the affected areas’.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said: ‘The situation in Haiti is still extremely grave, and has