Cholera outbreak spreads in Haiti
The latest reports form Health Ministry authorities account for 917 dead and 14.600 hospitalized by cholera, the epidemic disease that is affecting more than half of the country's provinces, one of them Puerto Principe, where more than one million people live without basic health services, crammed in 1.350 refugee camps. The UN has already alerted on the gravity of the emergency: 200.000 people could get infected in the next few months. This is why it has asked the international community almost 120 million Euros in aid over the next year to fight spreading of the epidemic disease.
Foi et Joie (Fe y Alegría – Haití), Entreculturas´ partner in the field, has shown concern for thousands of children who attend school at the refugee camps which are more vulnerable to infection. "Parents are very uneasy. The majority fear propagation of the illness in the schools, where most of them do not have drinking water for the children" says a report. Our partners have established a plan to raise awareness in the communities as how to avoid transmission of the disease.
A group of refugees in the Fe y Alegría school of Tabarre
There is panic caused by the cholera, which was already described by our colleagues form the JRS at the beginning of the epidemic disease, and other fears and traumas that effect the population due to the earthquake and the hurricanes. Foi et Joie, that is working months ago to create and recover schools, school dining halls, technical training for youth and building access paths to schools, fears that this climate of fear may affect students who "need a healthy atmosphere and good nourishment. Now the main challenge of the Ministry of Education is to set up a good health system and to help students to overcome the fear that is paralyzing them".
Schools: a safe place for all
The difficulties for the Haitian children to attend school do not stop here. Hurricane Thomas, which hit the country more than a week ago, severely damaged many refugee camps. According to Fe y Alegría, authorities transferred thousands of families to safe buildings such as schools. This has paralyzed school life in many parts of the country, such as Tabarre, where children from preschool cannot renew their lessons.
Many of the new schools built by Entreculturas´ partner have had to choose different construction materials to the traditional cement and have used wood with tin roofs, because children fear that buildings might fall again as they did in the earthquake. Fe y Alegría will continue to work hard to enable them overcome their fear and continue their studies so that they, in turn, may contribute to rebuilding their country.