Haiti reports cholera deaths for first time in 3 years

The Paper Forest

Haiti's government confirmed Sunday that at least 8 people have died from cholera, sparking concerns about a fast-spreading situation and invoking memories of a 2010 outbreak that killed over 10,000 people.

The first cholera deaths in three years came in Dekayet in southern Port-au-Prince and in the gang-controlled beachfront slum of Cite de Soleil, where hundreds live in tight, unclean circumstances.

Laure Adrien, Haiti's health minister, said cholera spreads swiftly.

Food or water contaminated with cholera bacteria can cause diarrhea and dehydration that can be fatal.

UN is working with Haiti's government to "launch an immediate response to this potential outbreak," stressing that health professionals need safe access to areas where cases have been recorded.

A scarcity of gasoline and persistent protests have shut down basic services across Haiti, including medical treatment and clean water, which are key to fighting cholera and keeping patients alive.

Haiti's most powerful gang controls the entry to a vital fuel station in Port-au-Prince, causing a fuel shortage and increasing prices that have paralyzed the country for more than two weeks.

Lack of gasoline and obstacles hinder water trucks from delivering drinkable water to those who can pay it. It's caused some companies to temporarily shut down.

Sunday, Caribbean Bottling Company claimed it could no longer produce or distribute potable water because its diesel stocks were "totally depleted." The unavailability of such a key resource would harm "all sectors of society," the company stated.

Adrien said health officials were trying to reach cholera-affected areas but lacked fuel. He appealed on those blocking the gas station and staging protests to "have a conscience."

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