Cholera outbreak threatens Haiti, Church provides clean water systems27 October 2010
Waves of disaster continue in Haiti with mid-October’s cholera outbreak in the Artibonite region. Cholera, a disease passed through contaminated water and improperly cooked food, causes extreme and acute diarrhea that leads to rapid dehydration. If the dehydration is not combated by proper fluid intake, cholera results in death. As of October 25, 2010, an estimated 259 people have died from the recent outbreak of the disease.
Limited almost exclusively to the Artibonite region, officials believe the outbreak is a result of recent rains that caused the Artibonite River to overflow its banks. Currently, only five cases have been reported in Port-au-Prince, each instance from someone from the Artibonite region.
Many relief agencies, including the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organization, have responded to the needs of the sick as well as prevention for the healthy. Cholera can be prevented with clean drinking water and properly cooked food. In this insecure time, however, many Haitians are afraid to drink water since it might be contaminated. But the lack of fluids can compromise those who have already contracted the rapidly dehydrating disease. Safe water for communities is critical at this point.
The Church of the Nazarene responded immediately to the outbreak in the Lower Artibonite and North Central Districts by sending 200 doses of antibiotics, hand sanitizer, 30 cases of water, gloves and personal hygiene products.
Dr. Lucien Jean Baptiste, the national leader for the Church of the Nazarene in Haiti, said, “It is important for Nazarene’s everywhere to continue to pray for the people of Haiti during this health crisis.”
Church leaders are also accelerating the already existing clean water campaigns. The church will be giving biosand filters to every Nazarene church and school in Haiti. Biosand filters use slow sand filtration technology to remove bacteria, viruses, and particles from water making it safe for drinking. Church leaders are continuing to meet with the areas’ district superintendents to monitor the situation closely and be prepared for further shipments and intervention as the need arises.