Tensions rise in Haiti as cholera spreads

An aid worker administers medicine in Haiti
An aid worker administers medicine in Haiti

.- The deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti is causing serious tensions inside the country and in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

“It is said that the dead are many more than a thousand, and they say that numbers continue to rise. Even here, at the border with Haiti, the situation is very critical," Fr. Demuel Taverz, SMF, reported from the small town of Jimani.

The priest told Fides news agency that the closure of the border at the town Jimani has seriously affected those who sell their products at shops across the border, depriving the poorest people of a “minimum income.”

“The most incredible part is that the trucks of the larger companies continue to enter Haiti, while the poor cannot sell their products to the market,” he commented.

He added that communications are poor and media reports are generating a “psychosis.”

“The tensions are high,” he said. He recounted the story of a fight at a university at Barahona in the Dominican Republic where students beat up a young man because he was Haitian. The students claimed that those from Haiti carry cholera. A religious brother of Fr. Demuel calmed the crowd and helped the victim.

Fr. Demuel repeated the report of Fr. Anibal Zilli from Kazal, a town of 20,000 people about two hours’ drive from Port-au-Prince. The priest said that in Kazal cholera continues to spread amid increasing tensions.

“There have been demonstrations against the U.N. troops because they are accused of having brought the disease to the nation, especially the group from Nepal. According to reports, there were over 1,000 deaths and more than 10,000 diagnosed with the disease,” Fr. Zilli’s report said.

In Kazal seven cases have been reported and others have been hospitalized.

The real death toll for the whole country may be closer to 2,000, according to Reuters. Hundreds of thousands are vulnerable to the disease and the epidemic could last a year. Around 1,000 trained nurses and at least 100 more doctors are urgently needed to control the epidemic.

This Sunday Haiti will hold presidential and legislative elections which will help determine the future of the country.


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