Thursday, January 6, 2011

Haiti - The Crisis Continues.........

It was the beginning of 2010 when the world was filled with compassion after the shock of the deadly earthquake in Haiti. The outpouring support came from all over the world. It all looked hopeful. The fund raising campaigns led by celebrities proved to be effective as millions were donated.

The challenges were there by the loads. The roads were blocked due to fallen debris and in other cases, there were huge openings on the roads which made it impossible to pass. These barriers also played a major role in getting the supplies to the people. The coverage showed that the people of Haiti were taking the devastation in stride. They sang and danced in the areas where they gathered. However, they cried for the loss of loved ones, the lack of food and medical help for their children and the elderly, the lack of communication with their families or friends. It was an emotional experience to be on the outside looking helplessly just wanting to see something happen, to make it better - fast.

As with everything, time goes by and the focus shifts on to the next big crisis. The BP oil spill here, Mother Nature ruffling our weather to unpredictable patterns in areas that enjoy a predictable calm, earthquakes, mudslides, rain and snow storms, tsunami watch in Hawaii, Chilean Miners, threats in North Korea, etc., we became distracted or perhaps we thought, it was all working out.

In the fall of 2010, we heard the first murmurs of an outbreak of Cholera in Haiti. We should have seen this coming. It was the perfect setting for such devastation, surely we saw that the infrastructure was severely compromised. There they were asking for water while reporters mentioned that the people of Haiti are in need of basic things such as water, food, etc. We saw coverage of people bathing/gathering water that appeared to be unclean. In addition, corpses were all over the streets, hidden in pockets of debris, rain poured, the water flowed, it rained on the earth, the corpses of humans and animals were also exposed to the rain. These conditions are set for breeding bacteria such as Cholera and other diseases that are commonly found in conditions such as these.

Cholera causes severe diarrhea and can be fatal. The symptoms* includes:
Abdominal cramps
Dry mucus membranes or mouth
Dry skin
Excessive thirst
Glassy or sunken eyes
Lack of tears
Low urine output
Rapid dehydration
Rapid pulse (heart rate)
Sunken "soft spots" (fontanelles) in infants
Unusual sleepiness or tiredness
Watery diarrhea that starts suddenly
Diarrhea has a "fishy" odor
Stool looks like water with flecks of rice in it

We admire the dedication of those who are there even long after the cameras have let the island working. The doctors, nurses, missionaries, students, citizens, responders of mankind and celebrities Wyclef Jean and Sean Penn. Clearly, Haiti is still in great need. How can we help? Let us begin with a call to those in charge Red Cross, Yele Haiti, UNICEF and Save the Children. Find out what they are doing to prevent these things from happening. It may be more of an issue on the hands of the Government of Haiti.

Haiti An Island In Great Need

* Symptoms & Treatment

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