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January 24, 2015

UN Security Council heads to Haiti amid political instability

UN Security Council heads to Haiti amid political instability

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

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Representatives of the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) fifteen member states flew to Haiti yesterday. The nation is moving to hold new elections with President Michel Martelly presently ruling by decree.

President Martelly, seen here in 2012, is ruling by decree after the collapse of parliament.
Image: World Economic Forum.

Martelly swore in a new Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) of nine members yesterday. It is Martelly’s fifth CEP in four years. Last month a presidential commission recommended the prior CEP’s resignation as part of a package of measures to move the country towards new elections. The commission was Martelly’s response to widespread anti-regime protests that started in October. The sometimes-violent protests were triggered by failure to hold elections, some due since 2011.

On January 12 the Senate was reduced to a defunct ten members, with sixteen required for a quorum. Amendments to electoral law were required by the Senate before elections due in 2011 could be held. Rival political factions were unable to resolve disagreements. The lower level of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, also saw all 99 seats vacated.

Also due are municipal elections, with 4,000 local posts needing refilled. A presidential election is due this year and the constitution forbids a consecutive term for Martelly. CEP members were sworn in yesterday at the Supreme Court; the presidential commission also recommended a new head for the court.

This month Martelly installed a new cabinet including opposition members, amongst them appointing Evans Paul as Prime Minister. Paul replaces Laurent Lamothe who resigned last month at the request of Martelly’s commission. Paul was yesterday joined by foreign diplomats to welcome the new CEP in Petionville, the CEP headquarters.

Protests continued around the nation yesterday, with anger directed at foreign leaders who have supported Martelly as well as the local regime. Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, the United States, the European Union, and the Organization of American States expressed in a joint statement “support to the president of the republic in the exercise of his constitutional duty to ensure the regular functioning of institutions and the continuity of the state” as parliament’s terms lapsed and power passed to Martelly alone.

The UN is unpopular in Haiti where many blame their peacekeeping force for a 2010 cholera outbreak, which is ongoing with 9,000 deaths. The UN has extended the peacekeeping mission for another year but does plan to reduce troops from around 5,000 to around 2,400. Anti-peacekeeper protests have also focussed on sexual abuse allegations.



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November 14, 2010

Over 900 people dead, 14,000 infected in Haitian cholera outbreak

Over 900 people dead, 14,000 infected in Haitian cholera outbreak

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Haiti
Other stories from Haiti
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Location of Haiti

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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Haiti, see the Haiti Portal
Flag of Haiti.svg

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vibrio cholerae
Image: Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility.

New figures show an estimated 917 have died and 14,000 more infected with cholera in Haiti’s present outbreak. However, it is suspected that many deaths in mountainous regions far from hospitals are going unreported.

Clinics are rapidly filling up and many deaths are being reported. “The trend is extremely, extremely alarming. We have not reached a peak yet, but it could arrive next week,” said the head of mission for Medecins Sans Frontieres, Stefano Zannini. A health official described the situation in Port-Au-Prince as “[growing] more pathetic each day.” The official also said that hospitals in the capital are not able to cope with all of the patients.

The United Nations has appealed to donor nations for US$164 million in order to import more doctors, medicine, and water purification systems.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “experience from the Peru outbreak in the early 1990s and from other countries in Latin America suggests that we should expect to identify additional cases for many months to several years.”

CDC says cholera is “an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but sometimes it can be severe… In severe cases, the infected person may experience profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps, which can cause rapid loss of body fluids and lead to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.”

Quote

No one alive in Haiti has experienced cholera before, so it is a population which is very susceptible to the bacteria. Cholera, now that it is in Haiti, probably the bacteria will be there for a number of years to come. It will not go away.—World Health Organization spokesman Gregory Hartl



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October 26, 2010

Over 250 dead in Haiti cholera outbreak, thousands infected

Over 250 dead in Haiti cholera outbreak, thousands infected

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cquote1.svg Now that cholera has established itself with a strong foothold in Haiti, it’s clear to us that this will not go away for several years Cquote2.svg

—Jon Andrus, deputy director of PAHO

At least 259 people are dead and over 3000 people have been infected in the Haitian cholera outbreak. Officials from the United Nations have said that they fear that the disease will spread across the entire country. As the cholera spreads quickly across the country anxiety levels are high as fears mount that the disease will spread to the earthquake ravaged city of Port-au-Prince. However, so far only a few cases have been reported in the capital which occurred when five people from the Artibonite region traveled to the capital where the disease became symptomatic.

Image of cholera bacteria
Image: Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility.

A field hospital has been setup in Saint-Marc to help treat patients while Oxfam has sent specialists to set up sanitation, hygiene and water facilities. The Health minister, Alex Larsen, and the president, Rene Preval, toured the affected areas and Larsen revealed that the government was launching a large anti-cholera campaign, aided by the WHO and US health officials. The UN has set up cholera treatment facilities in the Artibonite region and sent additional doctors. Facilities were also set up in the capital. It is believed that the massive surge of deaths will soon subside, but there will be more cases in the future due to the disease being established in the atmosphere.

Cquote1.svg A nationwide outbreak with tens of thousands of cases is a real possibility Cquote2.svg

—United Nations

According to the CDC cholera is “an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.” The CDC also says, “the infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe. Approximately one in 20 (5%) infected persons will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.” Cholera is contracted from drinking water or eating food contaminated by the Vibrio cholerae bacteria.



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October 23, 2010

Nearly 200 dead in Haitian cholera outbreak

Nearly 200 dead in Haitian cholera outbreak

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Haiti
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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Haiti, see the Haiti Portal
Flag of Haiti.svg

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Image of cholera bacteria
Image: Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility.

Nearly 200 people are confirmed dead and approximately 2600 are ill in a central Haitian cholera outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nations (UN). Haitian officials place the death toll at 194 deaths with 2,364 people being infected.

According to CDC officials Dr. Rob Quick and Dr. Carleene Dei an eleven man team is being sent to Haiti to investigate and determine the best course of action for the country. The USAID has said that they will provide supplies to set up treatment centers and have already provided 300,000 oral re-hydration kits and water purification kits.

A majority of the reported cases are in the Central Plateau and Artibonite regions located just north of the earthquake ravaged capital, Port-Au-Prince. Officials fear that the disease could spread to the capital city if not brought under control. It has been reported that many people are flooding the St. Nicolas hospital, which is the main medical facility in St. Marc, for treatment, causing pandemonium outside the gate. An aid worker who visited the hospital called it a “horror scene”, while another worker, David Darg, of Operation Blessing International wrote “The courtyard was lined with patients hooked up to intravenous drips. It had just rained and there were people lying on the ground on soggy sheets, half-soaked with feces.”

The cholera outbreak developed after recent rains flooded the Artibonite River, however it is not certain whether this was the cause of the outbreak. According to the CDC, cholera is “an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.” They also said that “Approximately one in 20 infected persons has severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these persons, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.” Cholera is passed on through contaminated water.


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