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Cholera outbreaks in Haiti follow devastation of Hurricane Matthew

BY   Richard Luscombe   Mark Townsend   PUB   The Guardian 

Fears that disease could spread as storm leaves almost 900 dead and tens of thousands displaced on Caribbean island


Haiti was counting the cost of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew on Saturday night, with almost 900 inhabitants killed and tens of thousands displaced in the Caribbean country.

Outbreaks of cholera led to the deaths of several people, because of flood water mixing with sewage, and fears were growing that the disease could spread.

“Due to massive flooding and its impact on water and sanitation infrastructure, cholera cases are expected to surge after Hurricane Matthew and through the normal rainy season, until the start of 2017,” the Pan American Health Organisation said in a statement.

Matthew rampaged through Haiti’s western peninsula on Tuesday with 145mph (233km/h) winds and torrential rain. Some 61,500 people remain in shelters, according to officials who said that the storm had hit fragile coastal villages, some of which were only now being contacted.



Haiti
OFFICIALLY THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI
Haiti; Haitian Creole: Ayiti [ajiti]), officially the Republic of Haiti (French: République d’Haïti; Haitian Creole: Repiblik Ayiti), is a sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere (North America). The country is located on the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated 10.6 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole.

The region was originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people. Spain first discovered the island on 5 December 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic. When Columbus initially landed in Haiti, he had thought he had found India or Asia. On Christmas Day 1492, Columbus’ flagship the Santa Maria, ran aground north of what is now Limonade. As a consequence, Columbus ordered his men to salvage what they could from the ship, and he created the first European settlement in the Americas, naming it La Navidad after the day the ship was destroyed.


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