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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/27/10

Is Haiti's deadly cholera outbreak an imported disease?

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Haiti struggles to cope with a deadly cholera outbreak - "most likely, according to one news report, imported into Haiti by a healthy carrier after the earthquake..."
Recommended HLLN Link:
A chilling video testimony of brackish Red Cross water in Haiti - Cholera confirmed in Haiti capital. For another compelling testimony on Red Cross delivering filthy water to Haiti victims since the earthquake, view also: How did the Red Cross spend $106 Million Dollars in Haiti: (Ezili Dantò's note: Amongst some of the testimonies that's not clearly translated in this most valuable video: a woman standing next to a small child repeating "no, no, no," points to a water drum with a "Red Cross" sign on it and says that even the water they give is not treated. She explains that she drinks it because she has no money to buy good drinkable water but suffers right now from a stomach ache from drinking the Red Cross' polluted water.)
Here's an example of help Haiti could use that is beyond Clinton/CocaCola/Sweatshops/Monsanto hybrid seeds/unregulated gold/copper and other foreign mining, and more foreign toxins that further pollutes Haiti's ground water : Communication, Water purifier, electricity and environmentally conscious, all in one -
Listen to Ezili Dantò interview on Ban2 Radio, London w/ Griot Chi, Oct. 4, 2010 (26:08), Oct. 4, 2010 and see post Haiti: I Can't Stand the Rain on the current situation in Haiti.

Foul Drinking Water killing Haitians?

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Since the January 12 earthquake, medical authorities have expected the compelling unsanitary conditions of corpses, rubble, nearly two million homeless people living in the streets in crowded tent/tarp/sheet camps and the expected heavy downpours from the rainy hurricane season to nurture disease epidemics. But, they expected the diseases "in areas hit by the earthquake, and certainly not cholera, " said Alex Larsen, Haiti's Minister of Health. Cholera has never before been found on the island.

According to Larsen, cholera is a new disease in Haiti, and became evident on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 in the Northern Departments of the Artibonite area and lower Central Plateau (East), Haiti. Initially it killed 140 Haitians and at least 1500 more were reported infected. Cholera "is very dangerous. It can kill in three hours because once the diarrhea starts it doesn't stop." Although initially no cases had been reported in Port au Prince, Claude Surena, the head of Haiti's Medical Association, told AP that "The concern is that it could go from one place to another place " and affect more people."

Cholera is caused by drinking dirty toxic water, or eating food cooked in contaminated water. The surprise is that Haitians not directly affected by the earthquake, living outside of the capital in areas where there has always been a shortage of clean drinking water are suddenly getting sick. Where are the additional toxins coming from? The assumption the International NGOs, aid agencies and UN are making is that the Artibonite River is contaminated, making the people living in the regions where the river crosses sick with cholera. But how did this river, situated North from the earthquake devastation in Port au Prince and other areas South become the source of the cholera disease? How did it move up North to the Artibonite River from the Southern parts of Haiti? "There is no evidence," suggests Dr. Gabriel Timothee, a Haitian public health official, that the Artibonite River is the source of the disease and "examinations are under way to try to determine the source of the disease." (See, Alterpress - Haïti-Chole'ra : Situation d'urgence humanitaire 9 mois après la catastrophe du 12 janvier ; Une maladie importe'e, la MINUSTAH clame son innocence; MINUSTAH denies rumour that it spread cholera in Haiti; and, Maeva Bambuck, a France 24 (English) reporter in Haiti, also reports there is a strong suspicion the cholera outbreak originated from the Nepalese UN soldiers who may be infected carriers of cholera and are stationed on the banks of the Meille river that feeds into Artibonite region of the outbreak.)

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Haiti news outlets report President Rene Preval also maintains that the strain of Vibrio cholerae is imported, and that cholera has never been present before in the country.

Carte d'Haïti situant les de'partements touche's par le chole'ra

AFP (Source of photo)

The suffering for Haitians deepen. The questions mount. Why are people in the Artibonite and Central areas suddenly suffering in great numbers from drinking brackish water that's been that way for centuries, and not killed them? What's the new element contaminating the Artibonite River that hasn't been in Haiti for a century? Could the unregulated gold, copper, iridium and other toxic mining operations up North of the Artibonite River, by Western companies benefiting from the 2004 Bush Regime change and UN occupation, be the new element polluting Haiti's water table? (See, Haiti's Riches:Interview with Ezili Dantò on Mining in Haiti). Or, was the cholera bacteria simply deliberately put into Haiti by the same mindset that just made it necessary for President Obama to apologize to the Guatemalans for the US medical and government establishments which deliberately infected Guatemalans with STDs?

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Speaking of brackish water, if it's proven that the Artibonite River is infected and that this most likely comes from an infected Haitian person from the earthquake refugee camps, who travelled North, then any scientific analysis of this cholera situation must also take into account that the displaced people in the camps of Port au Prince have been complaining since two months after the earthquake that the Red Cross water they've been given to drink, for instance, gives them stomach aches.

No one knows for sure yet how cholera got to Haiti. But it's in Haiti now and either foul drinking water or food that's been soaked or cooked in contaminated water is killing a new crop of Haitians, giving them cholera while donations that could have provided permanent clean drinking water are collecting interests for the thousands of charity organizations making a business out of poverty and the earthquake in Haiti.

AP, BBC, the New York Times and other mainstream news parrot each other, not emphasizing that cholera has never before been found in Haiti. The racist assumption is Haitians are always diseased and the invasion of international charity workers and UN soldiers are all healthy from countries with no cholera diseases , so these news agencies so far only deign to write that cholera has not been found in Haiti for "centuries." But at least one news report does firmly explain this is the first time that cholera has been found in Haiti and this cholera epidemic most likely was imported to Haiti by a healthy carrier after the earthquake.

A week after the initial reports of the Haiti cholera epidemic, other cases of diarrhea in the West, particularly the island of Gonave, the Acahaie, Carrefour (southern suburbs) and within the capital Port-au-Prince were being reported. The deathtoll had risen to 284 and those infected to 3, 612 and was steadily climbing. (See, Haiti reports 25 new cholera deaths.)

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Human Rights Lawyer, Ezili Danto is dedicated to correcting the media lies and colonial narratives about Haiti. An award winning playwright, a performance poet, author and lawyer, Ezili Danto is founder of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, (more...)

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