The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has warned that cholera and malnutrition are causing an increasing number of deaths in children in Haiti.
According to UNICEF, 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.
The Director of the Office of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine, during his visit to Haiti said:
“In Haiti right now, there is a triple threat to children’s lives –malnutrition, cholera and armed violence. And sometimes all three together. 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.”
Since the beginning of a cholera outbreak on October 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.