Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

02.20 Young climate strikers can win their fight. We must all help

02.20 Voyage to the Garbage Patch: the female sailors taking on plastic

02.19 Bees brought Bavarians together. And they have a lesson for us all

02.19 Florida is drowning. Condos are still being built. Can't humans see the writing on the wall? [Fear that Trump & Fox News incite makes us avoid unpleasant information we need to know]

02.18 Tesla big battery is holding its own in a burgeoning energy storage market

02.18 Trump administration condemned over delaying action on toxic drinking water

02.16 New experimental drug rapidly repairs age-related memory loss and improves mood

02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]

02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]

02.16 My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back

02.16 US coastal businesses hit by everyday impact of climate change, study shows

02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]

02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]

02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]

02.12 Biggest offshore windfarm to start UK supply this week

02.12 Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition

02.12 Politicians are complicit in the killing of our insects – we will be next

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

02.21 Bezos Says Amazon Drones Ready to Deliver Mueller Report to Every American Household

02.21 Devin Nunes Was Trump’s Mole Inside the Gang of Eight

02.21 Alec Baldwin fears for family's safety after Trump 'retribution' threats [0:40 video]

02.20 Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him

02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]

02.20 The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet

02.20 Why Bernie Sanders' radicalism can take out Trump

02.20 Why vote for Sanders when you can have Elizabeth Warren instead?

02.19 Democratic party elites silence Ilhan Omar at their peril [2:01 video]

02.19 The Political Revolution Is Back: Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Run for President

Justice Matters

02.19 California Leads 16 States Suing to Block Trump Border Plan

02.19 Fighting pollution: Toledo residents want personhood status for Lake Erie [Hurrah!]

High Crimes?

02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]

02.16 Elliott Abrams Defends War Crimes As Happening Back In The ’80s When Everyone Was Doing It

Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism

02.21 Historian who confronted Davos billionaires leaks Tucker Carlson rant

02.20 A Centuries-Old Idea Could Revolutionize Climate Policy

International & Futurism

02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]

02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]

02.20 My grandfather was a Nazi. I’ve seen why we need the EU

02.19 Centrism isn’t the solution to the mess we’re in

02.19 Renewables need urgent investment to ease Australia's transmission bottlenecks, experts warn

02.18 Hate-Fest in Warsaw

02.18 They Used To Hold Hands Through the Wall. Now, There’s Razor Wire.

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Print view: Haiti's Cholera Outbreak: A Disease of Poverty
COMMENTARY:

Haiti's Cholera Outbreak: A Disease of Poverty

Only predatory imperial/capitalistic interests seem to matter most to America and the West, preying on the many to benefit the few.

by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Billions of dollars of pledged or delivered aid is earmarked for development, not basic health essentials for those in need under crisis conditions.

On October 22, Reuters confirmed Haiti's cholera outbreak, saying efforts were being made to prevent an epidemic that so far "killed nearly 200 people and sickened more than 2,000," official reports understating the threat.

On the same day, New York Times writer Donald McNeil, Jr. headlined, "Cholera Outbreak Kills 150 in Haiti," saying:

"A cholera outbreak in a rural area of northwestern Haiti....overwhelmed local hospitals with thousands of sick," according to the World Health Organization. Rural Artibonite, Haiti's main rice-growing area, 62 miles north of Port-au-Prince was struck, though cases were surfacing elsewhere. They're now in the nation's capital where overcrowding threatens a possible epidemic.

Though normally less congested, Artibonite hosts thousands of earthquake victims, most drinking St. Marc River water, contaminated with raw sewage. As a result, a potential disaster there looms as in Port-au-Prince and other parts of Haiti. Dirty water and poor sanitation are the problems, as well as poverty, always the main cause wherever cholera strikes.

St. Marc Hospital was "a horror scene," said David Darg, director of Operation Blessing International. McNeil reported him "describing people lying in courtyards on sheets soaked with rain and feces, children writhing in agony and adults lying motionless, their eyes rolled back as nurses searched for veins."

Since 1985, Partners in Health (PIH) has done heroic work in Haiti, its "flagship project," delivering care to many thousands of impoverished, malnourished, sick people. On October 26 on Democracy Now, PIH's Dr. Evan Lyon called the outbreak "terrifying," saying it's very fast-moving. Without help, adults die in 24 hours. "For the young, for the old, for vulnerable people," it's often 12 hours.

Most alarming is that "In a country where at least 70% (some say 90%) of people have no access to (clean) water or (proper) sanitation, (they) can't protect themselves." Haitians have no experience with the disease. "Their immune systems have no exposure, which will help the disease spread more rapidly....So the country is terrified at this point."

On the same program, Dr. John Arbus, Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said:

"It's probably clear to us that this will not go away for several years. We'll need to (stay vigilant). This front-full surge of cases will come down, but there will probably be sporadic cases in the future, now that the bacteria is well established in the environment."

The first cases were confirmed about a week earlier. Then cholera exploded and made headlines. It struck a prison in Mirebalais near St. Marc where Lyon used to work. At least six deaths were reported, another 25 confirmed ill. The prison houses about 250 inmates, at least 80% awaiting trial, not convicted of a crime. Most, in fact, are likely innocent. Yet all of them were exposed, can't get out, are malnourished, and get unsafe water under "horrible sanitation conditions....So people (there) based on accusations (alone) have now been handed a death sentence," Lyon explained.

More frightening is that "cholera will not go away in Haiti until the underlying conditions" change, meaning poverty, hunger, malnutrition, unsafe water, poor sanitation, densely populated neighborhoods, and overcrowded outdoor camps for up to 1.5 million in and around Port-au-Prince.

Wherever there's poor infrastructure, "this disease will be around....it's a very frightening time for the country," authorities understating the danger or potential numbers already affected. It's likely thousands more than reported, most ill, others dead or dying, even though reports now say conditions are stabilizing.

On October 25, Times writer Deborah Sontag headlined, "Amid Cholera Outbreak in Haiti, Misery and Hope," saying:

Located in St. Marc, St. Nicholas Hospital's courtyard had, "Scores of children and adults....doubled over or stretched out on every available surface, racked by convulsive stomach disorder or limp with dehydration." For them, life hangs in the balance. Most treated in time pull through, Medical News Today's Christian Nordqvist saying it's done "with cheap and simple antibiotics, fluids and oral rehydration solution." Otherwise, death is painful and likely.

"Many people in our neighborhood have died of diarrhea and vomiting," said Gerda Pierre, her son, aged four, stricken with the disease like many others. Through October 31, the reported death toll was 337 with over 4,000 confirmed ill, mostly in central and northern Haiti, though small outbreaks in Port-au-Prince are alarming. UN and local health officials warned of a potential epidemic, putting "tens of thousands" or more at risk.

So far, only scattered Port-au-Prince cases have been reported that could spread uncontrollably if not checked. Worrisome, however, is whether greater numbers aren't known or have been unreported, as well as outbreaks in other areas.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) calls cholera an intestinal infection caused by "toxigenic Vibrio cholerae, group O-1 or O-139." It results from natural or man-made disasters, resulting in overcrowding; unsafe water; poor sanitation, including improper elimination of human waste; and contaminated food. Symptoms include uncontrollable diarrhea, with or without vomiting, producing dehydration and early death if not treated.

A Brief History of Cholera

Since first emerging over 200 years ago in Calcutta, India, it's killed millions. From 1817 - 1823, it spread from India to Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East and Russia, ravaging areas struck.

From 1826 - 1837, a cholera epidemic struck England and Western Europe, causing many thousands of deaths. It then spread to America, Canada, Mexico, Guyana and Cuba. In January 1991, Vibrio cholerae O-1 hit an area of coastal Peru. By 2000, it reached other regional countries, while America, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Paraguay, Panama, and Suriname remained cholera free. Under good health conditions, it's entirely preventable. For decades, Haiti was spared. Now an epidemic threatens.

Monitoring the situation, PAHO said suspected cases are in Haiti's Northern and Southern areas, as well as confirmed ones in Gonaives, Haiti's third largest city. Twenty or more cases in Port-au-Prince are being investigated. Likely there are many more unknown or unreported.

A Final Comment

An earlier article explained that Haiti is no stranger to adversity and anguish, after over 500 years of oppression, slavery, despotism, colonialism, reparations, embargoes, sanctions, deep poverty, starvation, disease, unrepayable debt, and calamities like destructive hurricanes, the January earthquake, and now cholera.

It's an old story for Haitians, including US domination for nearly two centuries, bringing misery, not aid to needy people, a story that repeated in January that continues. Instead of delivering massive amounts of food, water, medical care, shelter, and immediate steps to clear rubble and rebuild, in came Marines and paratroupers, occupying the country repressively with UN Blue Helmets, never there for peace.

Haiti was reopened for business, its people to be exploited, not helped. Billions of dollars of pledged or delivered aid is earmarked for development, not essentials to those in need under crisis conditions. For example, Washington promised over $1.1 billion. It's yet to be delivered, and whatever comes will go to profiteering NGOs, as well as for corporate ventures, upscale housing, and resource development, including projects George Bush and Bill Clinton are promoting.

They include sweeping privatizations, tourism ventures, port development, free trade zones, deregulatory freedom creating worker hell, and eventually exploiting Haiti's riches, principally its oil, believed to be abundant.

For America, the West, Haiti's oligarchs and its government, homeless, malnourished, mistreated, and sick Haitians are of no concern, including those affected by cholera. Only predatory imperial interests matter, preying on the many for the few, millions of Haitians easy pickings to exploit. Their struggle for liberation continues.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on November 3, 2010.
 



Public Service Ads:
Verifiable Voting in Maryland