News / Americas

Over 1,000 Haitians Dead From Cholera

A woman covers her face from the smoke of burning tires set up by demonstrators in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 15 Nov. 2010.
A woman covers her face from the smoke of burning tires set up by demonstrators in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 15 Nov. 2010.

The death toll from Haiti's cholera epidemic has passed 1,000.

Health officials made the announcement Tuesday, reporting an official figure of 1,034 deaths as of Sunday.

The authorities said more than 16,700 people have been hospitalized since the outbreak was first reported late last month.

Angry protesters have accused United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal of bringing the waterborne disease to their Caribbean nation.

Violent protests against U.N. peacekeepers erupted Monday, with at least two people killed in clashes between demonstrators and the U.N. workers. 

The U.N. mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, dismissed the demonstrations as "politically motivated," ahead of the November 28 presidential and legislative elections. 

The U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator in Haiti, Nigel Fisher, told reporters Monday that cholera has been detected in every province.



Fisher said Haiti has never had a cholera outbreak before and that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified this strain as one that has its origins in South Asia.  But he said it is nearly impossible to identify a precise source.

Health workers fear an explosion of the disease in Port-au-Prince, where hundreds of thousands of people have been living in crowded and unsanitary tent cities since the January earthquake that devastated the country.

The United Nations is calling for $164 million from international donors to support the Haitian government in confronting the cholera epidemic.

The World Health Organization says the bacteria that causes cholera will be in the country for years.

Cholera is spread through fecal-contaminated food and water.  It causes vomiting and diarrhea, and can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death.  Health workers fear an explosion of the disease in Port-au-Prince, where hundreds of thousands of people have been living in squalid tent cities since the January earthquake devastated the country.

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