Cholera has struck the Les Anglais area, sickening and killing many people.
The Haiti Ap Grandi board of directors met with Etienne on Sunday, Feb 5 via Zoom to discuss the cholera outbreak in and around Les Anglais and the specific ways we can help those suffering from cholera and reduce further transmission of this deadly and very contagious disease. It is treatable and preventable, but only if clean water, medical treatments, and supplies for cleaning and sanitation are available.
Conditions are ripe for a cholera epidemic:
– Many wells were broken during the 2021 earthquake and the landslides caused by the hurricane that followed soon after. We have for years funded the digging and maintenance of many of these wells, but have so far been unable to get the parts and contractors needed to repair them.
– The area around Les Anglais has received almost no rainfall for the last 5 months, so people can’t collect rainwater and the rivers have turned to muddy trickles.
– Many people have no choice but to drink water from the contaminated rivers.
– The population in and around Les Anglais, as for most other rural towns, has increased greatly due to people moving out of Port Au Prince.
– Medications, cleaning and sanitation supplies, and other necessities are scarce due to port and road blockages, in addition to continuing global supply chain issues.
Madan Monique Girard (aka Madam Pastor), Superintendent of Schools at the Les Anglais MEBSH church with over 700 grade school and high school students, told Etienne that two of their children died last week. The school is in desperate need of basic supplies including bleach, gloves, water purification tablets, and rehydration solution to contain the spread of the disease. The clinic across the street from there that serves a large area around Les Anglais has also run out of supplies and medications. We asked Etienne if there are NGOs that could give or sell us supplies, but there are none that serve as far west as Les Anglais.
Based on the information he collected, Etienne recommended two actions to immediately save lives:
- Repair as many wells as possible: Providing safe water to people is of utmost importance. Etienne has been in communication with IPD, the well digging contractor we have engaged in the past. They are available now and have parts, and will meet Etienne in Les Anglais on Wednesday, Feb 9 to begin work. Etienne plans/hopes to repair the wells at the clinic, near the beach village, and in Digue, and any others they can.
- Buy supplies for the Les Anglais church & school: The cleaning and medical supplies they need are available at stores in Les Cayes. He will buy them and deliver them to Madan Girard to help stop the disease from spreading within the school.
The Board authorized Etienne to spend up to $10,000 of the money we wired him last week (see our previous post) on well repairs and medical, cleaning, and sanitation supplies.
We will replenish the agronomy projects’ funds later.