Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The 1 year Anniversary: Where is Haiti now?

One year after the Earthquake that shattered Port-au-Prince, Haiti, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and another hundreds of thousands without shelter, Haiti continues to struggle. When will the struggle end for a people who have been deliberately ignored by the world? Despite the mass pouring of aid and support, Haitians continue to face new threats. I have decided to focus on two of those threats, both of which pose a huge global health crisis: the cholera epidemic and the brutal rapes of Haitian women living in mass tent cities.

The cholera epidemic has claimed hundreds thousands of lives in Haiti and has sickened thousands more, possibly causing a spread to the rest of the Caribbean via relief workers who may not know that they have been contaminated upon returning to their native lands. For those who may not be familiar with cholera, it is an infection of the small intestine that causes severe diarrhea. If left untreated for a few hours the result is almost always death.

Secondly, the brutal rapes of Haitian women living in tent cities has posed another deadly threat to the country. Due to the high rate of sexual violence, the birth rate in Haiti has tripled since the earthquake, climbing from 4 percent to 12 percent, according to population experts. Can you believe this, TRIPLED. How sickening is that for a country who has lost so much, now has to face brutal rapes. This makes for a huge public health concern, considering that Haiti lacks maternal health care. Most importantly, some of these women have tried terminating their pregnancies, which is extremely dangerous for both mother and unborn child.

Marie Kena Michelle’s dream was to become a nurse. Then the Haiti earthquake struck, killing her mother, disabling her father and destroying the family home. With no place to live, she moved to the tent city of La Piste near Port-au-Prince. Soon after she arrived, a group of young men attacked her, putting a plastic bag over her head and raping her. Marie tried, unsuccessfully, to terminate the pregnancy that resulted from the rape. Here, she's shown a few hours after giving birth in a tent in the crowded camp. (Nadav Neuhaus) source

To learn more about a people who have endured, a resilient people, our won borthers and sisters, log unto to pbs and cnn to find out more information on Haiti, one year after the 7.0 earthquake.