Yesterday Cap-Haitian, Haiti’s second largest city, and the town of Hinche, erupted in riots over accusations that MUNISTA (Haiti’s UN department) brought cholera into the country and is now mishandling treatment.
16 Haitians were wounded and 2 killed by UN forces.
We have been hearing rumors for weeks about “trouble” coming to Port-au-Prince between Nov. 11-18, the eighteenth being a national holiday marking the “Battle de Vertieres,” the final battle of the Haitian Revolution.
As I write, Port-au-Prince remains quiet in the face of the northern riots.
The entire country is immersed in fear and panic, the situation quickly destabilizing. People are dying from lack of potable water and information on cholera treatment. Anger toward the international community and the UN in particular is on the rise.
Medicine is not being given without charge. The government is charging for IV’s and rehydration syrum. People are dying because they don’t have $2 for an IV.
It is being reported that while some NGOs are providing free care, other caregivers are being stopped from helping in the provinces, their medicines being confiscated by government officials who will charge money to the dying, impoverished peasants.
Amber Munger update:
Cholera has reached Commune Anse Rouge. “Five more people have died since I last wrote you,” she e-mailed me on Monday, Nov. 15.
“The ‘nurse’ who is unpaid at the La Sous clinic won’t see cholera patients and closed the clinic,” she wrote. “Since there is nowhere to find care in CAR [Commune Anse Rouge], and since no one understands cholera, anyone who gets it has an automatic death sentence, even though it could be simply treated with hydration formula.”
“Article 29 coordinator, Herbert Pierre, lobbied the government health director of the region to come to La Sous, and after a long meeting with the ‘nurse’ managed to reopen the small clinic,” Munger said.
“The problem now is there are no rehydration serums or other necessary materials,” she wrote. “Pierre has been traveling to all public markets in the region, with a megaphone, spreading health information on cholera to decrease panic in the region” because access to information via radio is extremely limited in this region of Haiti.
“He has relayed the big need that we have now is for Clorox and hydration serum,” Munger explained. “People all want to treat their water, but we need to get more Clorox and give it for free because people cannot afford it.”
Normally, CAR residents would travel to Gonaives for supplies and healthcare, but the cholera epidemic has created so much fear everyone is afraid to travel to the city.
According to Munger, fear has caused transport costs to go “through the roof,” further complicating the ability to bring life-saving supplies to Commune Anse Rouge.
Pierre traveled to Port-au-Prince today, seeking blueprints for the SOIL composting toilets, hydration salts, and Clorox, Munger said.
“We will figure out how to pay for it all, later,” said Munger, who recently relapsed from a presumed E.Coli infection, and was re-hospitalized last week.