Forgotten help for Haiti

By Stephanie Saviola

Almost nine months after Haiti’s devastating earthquake killed an estimated 250,000 citizens and left millions of people homeless, the country is facing another tragedy.

Many people may have forgotten the disaster that struck in January from the lack of news updates. However, recent events have brought Haiti back into the spotlight. There is a cholera outbreak in the disaster-stricken nation.

Four hundred and forty- two people have died, and more than 6,500 cases of infection were reported, as of press time.

Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small intestine and is usually contracted from consuming contaminated food and water. The infection is fairly easy to cure and contain if it’s treated early. Cholera becomes severe and irreversible from extreme dehydration and electrolyte imbalances if medical attention is not received, according to doctors.

The outbreak is most likely due to the massive number of people who are homeless or living in inadequate shelters drinking river water.

There have been complaints from aid workers claiming to have problems getting supplies to people.

CNN reporter and medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta toured a large warehouse in Haiti. In the video report, Gupta shows supplies that have been sitting on the shelves, miles away from suffering people since July. When a warehouse worker was questioned about this, he was unable to give a comprehensible answer.

This is extremely disheartening. If supplies were properly distributed, many of these cholera deaths could have been avoided. Instead, the supplies sit on shelves while people suffer and die.

The video shows the warehouse packed full of supplies, ranging from hydration salts, IV fluids and other medical equipment.

Aid workers claim to have submitted paperwork for the supplies but were denied access with no explanation.

To make matters worse, current weather conditions such as strong winds and heavy rainfall could lead to massive damage and mudslides, making water contamination even worse in the country. This will only spread the epidemic more.

Citizens are suffering. People are volunteering their time and efforts to help Haitian citizens, but their hands are tied. Without supplies, they can do little

to help.

The solution seems easy: Distribute the supplies that are already in Haiti to the sick people who need them.

The warehouse workers said if they gave out supplies now, they wouldn’t have enough when the epidemic broke out. But Gupta’s video shows the epidemic has already broken out. And with more than 400 deaths in the small country, that is a safe claim to make.

Even though Haiti isn’t in the forefront of people’s minds since the earthquake, it’s important to remember the poverty-stricken country is still in need of help. The country has a long road ahead with a large magnitude of problems to overcome.