Haiti's cholera deaths increase

Latest official statistics show more people dying nearly two months after the deadly cholera outbreak hit the country.

    Officials say tolls have averaged out to around 50 new reported deaths a day [REUTERS]

    The cholera death toll in Haiti is rising daily, with official figures indicating that 3,333 people have died since the outbreak of the epidemic in mid-October.

    Official sources state that, as a result of cholera, the numbers have averaged out to around 50 new reported deaths a day.

    The epidemic, the first in Haiti for more than a century, has further devastated an already desolate community still recovering from the January 2010 earthquake that crippled much of the country and left some 250,000 people dead.

    The total number of cholera infections has soared to 150,000; newest data from December 26 noted 432 more deaths than previous health ministry statistics.

    On Thursday, authorities in the neighbouring Dominican Republic also said there had been 139 reported cases there, though none of them fatal.

    The outbreak of the disease triggered anti-UN riots in the capital Port-au-Prince last month, as some Haitans turned their anger on Nepalese peacekeepers who they accused of bringing cholera into the country.

    Angry mobs in the deeply superstitious nation also stoned or hacked to death at least 45 people - most of them voodoo priests - accusing them of spreading the water-borne bacterial infection.

    But experts say the outbreak was likely sparked by a human source from outside the region. The United Nations has promised a thorough investigation into the origin of the epidemic.

    Cholera, which causes deadly diarrhoea and vomiting, often affects poor countries with limited access to clean water and proper sanitation.

    Haiti is ranked lowest in the America's on the UN's Human Development Index. Following the January 2010 earthquake, many are homeless or live in temporary camps in and around the capital, leaving them vulnerable to further exposure to the disease.

    The Pan-American Health Organisation in early December estimated Haiti could see up to 400,000 cholera cases over the next 12 months, half of them within three months alone.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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