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article imageMass graves used to bury dead in Haiti while cholera spreads

By Karen Graham     Oct 10, 2016 in World
Port-au-prince - In Haiti's devastated Southwest, some of the dead are being buried in mass graves as the death toll in the wake of Hurricane Matthew has risen to at least 1,000. Now, cholera, another deadly killer, is ravaging the population.
Hurricane Matthew, the Caribbean's most destructive storm in over a decade, slammed into Haiti last Tuesday with 145 mph (233kph) winds, torrential rainfall, pounding waves and storm surge that left 1.4 million people in desperate need of humanitarian aid, says the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The official death toll is listed at 336 dead, and that is because central civil protection agency officials have to go into each village to confirm the deaths. But Reuters' tally of the numbers, based on talking to local officials, shows over 1,000 people lost their lives.
The destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew in Port-Salut  southwest of Port-au-Prince  on October 9...
The destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew in Port-Salut, southwest of Port-au-Prince, on October 9, 2016, days after the passage of the hurricane through Haiti
Nicolas Garcia, AFP
With a population of 10 million people, Haiti is the poorest nation in the Americas. In the aftermath of the storm, water sources are contaminated, raising fears that Cholera, already a severe problem before the storm hit, will spread through the devastated country.
On Sunday, Kedner Frenel, the most senior central government official in the Grand'Anse region on Haiti's western peninsula, said that in Jeremie, officials had to bury the dead in mass graves because bodies were starting to decompose. Frenel said that in Grand'Anse alone, 552 people were killed in the storm.
A scene of desolation greeted visitors to Jeremie in south-western Haiti  a town of 30 000 people le...
A scene of desolation greeted visitors to Jeremie in south-western Haiti, a town of 30,000 people left inaccessible until October 7, 2016
Nicolas Garcia, AFP
Frenel added that the spread of cholera was a great concern, and officials are working to get food, water, and medical supplies to the thousands of people living in shelters. Government officials are spreading out across the southwestern tip of the country, trying to repair water treatment facilities.
Cholera is spread by contaminated water and causes severe diarrhea that can kill within hours. With a short incubation period, an outbreak can pop up very quickly, and in some isolated areas in Haiti, this is already happening.
Al-Jazeera is reporting that this week alone, 62 cases of cholera have been recorded, with 13 of those cases ending in death. "People have started dying," Eli Pierre Celestin, a health ministry official told Reuters news agency. "There are nurses but no doctors."
People queue for food and clothes being distributed at a shelter in Port-Salut  southwest of Port-au...
People queue for food and clothes being distributed at a shelter in Port-Salut, southwest of Port-au-Prince, on October 9, 2016, days after the passage of Hurricane Matthew through Haiti
Rodrigo Arangua, AFP
People are becoming desperately hungry because aid supplies are only trickling in. Haiti only has one usable airport, and this has not helped. Additionally, over 80 percent of the island nation's crops were destroyed by the storm.
"We thought the world would be here sooner because right now the people are in dire need," Donny St Germain, a pastor at El Shaddai Ministries International, told Al Jazeera.
More about Haiti, 1000 dead, Mass graves, Cholera, Contaminated water
 
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