The Ignored Crisis in Haiti

Isabelle Samudio, Reporter

Haiti has always trudged through tough times, and this year is no exception. Hurricane Matthew had the small country in its sights and left the island of Hispaniola reeling.

CNN put the death toll at “at least 271 people.”

In a BBC article only mere hours later, officials state the death toll “has soared to more than 400.”

And now the count rises to 1,000+ people dead, as stated by a shockingly recent article by Al Jazeera.

(The toll varies from article to article because only recently have aid reached some areas cut-off by the hurricane – and they’ve already begun burying their dead.)

The death toll is rising, and will continue to, until multiple problems are solved. The main reason for the sudden rise in the death toll is because of an outbreak of cholera, which is a disease that occurs due to contaminated water and lack of hygiene. It’s a disease that spreads rapidly from person to person, and can “kill within hours if untreated”. The outbreak is so severe in the south, that decomposing bodies are being buried in mass graves. Cholera had already ravaged the country years prior, and now it’s been rekindled and worsened by Matthew.

Cholera is the killer but many factors leads up to and inflames the disease. The water, obviously, is a large problem in the country. Horrifically, corpses and dead animals are floating in and contaminating river water. Many are forced to drink it, since it’s all they have access to. The massive loss of shelter due to the storm made entire villages have to sleep outside, with or without cover, exposing themselves to the elements. The agriculture in the south has been destroyed and will rapidly lead to malnourishment in civilians if not aided. An abundance of places have been catastrophically damaged in the country, some villages completely wiped out. One decimated village is using police stations as makeshift hospitals since there is nowhere else to house them. Patients are being treated on the stone floors of jail cells. The slow arrival of aid from America and the UN and the country’s government itself also lends into the worsening situation. Multiple areas that were harshly hit by the storm are still without medicine and necessary supplies (as stated by NBC News).

And yet with all this heartbreak and horror, there’s no outrage of this situation; Haiti has been overlooked by the masses and left to rot.