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Cholera outbreak in Haiti hits children hardest

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Nov 24, 2022 - 12:41 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – Cholera and malnutrition are causing an increasing number of deaths in children in Haiti, UNICEF warned Wednesday.

Two out of every five cholera patients in Haiti, or 40% of confirmed cases, are children. Nine out of 10 cases occur in areas where children suffer severe acute malnutrition, according to the UN agency.

“In Haiti right now, there is a triple threat to children’s lives –malnutrition, cholera and armed violence. And sometimes all three together,” said Manuel Fontaine, director of the Office of Emergency Programmes, during a visit to Haiti. “In just a few hours, acute watery diarrhea and vomiting dehydrate and weaken them so much they may die without timely and adequate treatment.”

“Cholera and malnutrition are a lethal combination, one leading to the other,” said Fontaine.

Since the beginning of a cholera outbreak on Oct. 2, the Ministry of Health has reported almost 200 deaths and more than 10,600 suspected cases in a population of 11 million people.

The crisis and chaos have intensified in Haiti in the last few weeks after blockades by criminal gangs have caused shortages of food, water and fuel, just as the country deals with the outbreak.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has asked the international community for military assistance to address the cholera epidemic and actions by criminal gangs.

UNICEF is appealing for $27.5 million in humanitarian assistance for health, water, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition and protection for 1.4 million people.

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