The source of Cholera has been linked to improper disposal of waste into the Artibonite River from the Nepal U.N. camp. The rains received from hurricane Tomas are speeding the spread of cholera. Cholera has now been found in Cite Soleil one of the poor tent camps in Port-au Prince. Cholera is easily treated and prevented; the problem is these people don’t have access or knowledge of the simplest forms of personal hygiene.
Port-au-Prince is home to around 3 million people, half are still displaced living in tents or other temporary shelters. Tent cities are just as they sound, tents clustered together, many with no perceived order or arrangement. Entire families will live in a small tent, or makeshift tarp and stick structure. Last week several Base Camp Staff traveled to a small tent camp containing about twenty families and met with the leader, he invited us into his 6’ by 6’ tarp home that he shared with his mother. Inside was a bed, on the other was a pile of their pots and pans, and clothes hung from the ceiling. Across the street was a concrete wall with a spout, this was their source of all water for bathing, cooking, drinking; gathered around stood 5-10 people waiting with their five gallon buckets. The leader told us they were very lucky to have such easy access to water, though not clean or purified, this water is better than most Haitians have access to. You can only imagine what these camps turn into as the rains come, everything turns into mud, the rivers swell and flood, gathering with it, garbage, animal, and human waste that covers the ground.
Education is a successful tool in prevention, two weeks ago a health official came and talked to the National Foursquare Church, informing them in ways to help prevent Cholera, including boiling water, washing hands, cooking food thoroughly, and disposing of waste properly.
Cholera is a concern and we encourage you to partner with us as we pray that it does not sweep through Haiti. As stated in our earlier blog on cholera we are not concerned for teams or the Base Camp Staff. We receive purified water weekly in large jugs; this provides clean water for drinking, and cooking. We realize the concern you may have in coming down, but we are taking all precautions to ensure the safely of all who come. To aid in the treatment we are asking all team coming down to bring as much as they can of the following:
- Doxycycline (an antibiotic)
- Aqua tabs (these purify the water)
- Rehydration salt packets
Serving Him together,
John and Debbie Booker
And the Base Camp Staff
*For more Cholera information refer to previous blog “A word on Cholera” posted below