April 9, 2017
Haiti’s Cholera – A Growing Epidemic
Haiti cannot have a break from crisis. When it is not political, it is a natural disaster.
Haiti had not yet recovered from the powerful earthquake of January 12, 2010 ten months had passed when a cholera disease devastated all Haitian families. It was a huge situation for my family because we lived in a refugee camp and lacked basic necessities. However, the cholera spread across the country, and the disease entered all Haitian homes. It killed at least seven thousand Haitians and a few hundred thousand were sick. If the United Nations soldiers had not emptied latrine into rivers, there would be no cholera in Haiti. Thus, the cholera epidemic ravaged the Haitian people, and the epidemic spread due to poor sanitarian condition. My family was not exempt from the disease and we were subject to extreme hygiene rules.
Many people died in Haiti because some families could not afford to buy purified water to drink. Because there was no fresh water, people constantly refreshed their thirst on the shores. Meanwhile, the United Nations soldiers overflowed their latrines in rivers to contaminate Haitian water system with the disease. In this situation my family struggled to find fresh drinking water. Sometimes, we were embarrassed to boil the water each time we had to drink a cup. My family was sad and afraid to drink water from the river. It was a desperate moment in my life. At the same time, I didn’t even have a proper roof over my head, and my family’s house wasn't rebuilt from the earthquake when cholera struck Haiti. All water to sustain people was contaminated. My family and I were exposed at all time to catch the cholera epidemic.
However, to withstand against the worst cholera epidemic in history, my family paid very close attention to all hygiene rules. It was hard to believe cholera wasn’t going to catch up a member of my family. Consequently, in poor sanitary conditions and there were no hygiene rules in the camps. I thought a disease might be exploding at the slightest spark. In addition, my family was anxious for other people who lived near our plywood shelter who had already passed away from the disease. Many Haitian with the disease lacked drinking water causing diarrhea, dehydration and death. Fortunately, my family and I were lucky to avoid the cholera bacteria that contaminated Haiti’s drinking water after spilling along rivers. For some reason, we did not neglect to practice daily cleanliness.
Furthermore, due to the earthquake, my family had to take temporary refuge in a shelter. My family would not be afraid of the disease if we were not living under tent. The camp city was uncomfortable place to live and had a big impact on our lives. It was a desperate moment for my family to live in a refugee camp among contaminated people. Also, we didn’t have clear drinking water, and we didn’t have any access to electricity. It was horrible because the cholera epidemic wasn’t only in the water. It was everywhere, even in the air I breathed. I had difficulty to communicate with people, and I tried to stay away from my friends for a while.
In fact, the United Nations soldiers and the disease combined to create the epidemic. It was a complicated situation, and it was tragic. All Haitian families were devastated by the cholera epidemic. Some people who survived the earthquake succumbed to cholera. My family struggled to survive. If it were not for Haiti’s poor sanitary conditions it would not have spread the way it did.