Cholera fighting efforts restart in Haiti’s north
Aid supplies to combat Haiti’s deadly cholera epidemic are flowing again into the country’s northern regions after protests by Haitians blaming U.N. troops for the outbreak, humanitarian groups said on Sunday.
Vehicles carrying equipment from some aid groups have begun to reach the northern city of Cap-Haitien, where aid efforts were disrupted last week by several days of protests that saw Haitians throw up road barricades and hurl stones at U.N. peacekeepers, said Imogen Wall of the U.N. humanitarian agency, OCHA.
“The security situation there has now stabilized,” Wall said. “We’re going to have to scramble to get back to where we were.”
The cholera epidemic, which has so far killed 1,250 people, has hit Haiti’s northern area the hardest and added another challenge for the impoverished country as it prepares to hold national elections on November 28.
The government and its aid partners are fighting to prevent the disease from spreading in crowded city slums and tent camps housing some 1.5 million people left homeless by a January 12 earthquake.
Julie Schindall, a spokeswoman for the international charity Oxfam, said her group planned to resume aid activities in the northern region on Monday as workers scramble to contain the epidemic that has swept through Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
In over a month, the epidemic has spread to eight of the country’s 10 provinces and some 20,000 people have been treated in hospitals for the diarrheal disease, which can kill in hours through dehydration if not treated quickly.
The anti-cholera campaign has been complicated by reports—denied by the U.N. mission in Haiti—that U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal brought the disease to Haiti, where it had been absent for 100 years.
At least two people were killed and dozens wounded in clashes blamed by the United Nations on political agitators looking to inflame political tensions before next week’s vote to choose a successor to President Rene Preval, a 99-member parliament and 11 members of the 30-seat Senate.
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