PORT-AU-PRINCE (FBC)--In the wake of massive rainfall and extensive flooding caused by Hurricane Tomas as it skirted western Haiti, disaster-weary Haitians are now coping with an increased spread of cholera worsened by bacteria-filled standing water.
Photo by Tommy Green
The heightened cholera outbreak has led Florida Baptist officials to focus on the potential epidemic, said Dennis Wilbanks of the state convention's partnership missions department, who traveled to the country Nov. 10-17, just days after Tomas' onslaught.
"It is a potential catastrophic event worthy of keeping an eye on," Wilbanks said, even as the government and NGOs efforts in water, health and sanitation have slowed the outbreak.
Haiti's Ministry of Health (MSPP) reports 1,186 deaths and 19,646 cases as of Nov. 16, the last day that analyzed figures are available. Overall, the MSPP reports that 49,418 people have sought medical attention since the epidemic was declared.
Included in the cholera deaths are two pastors of the Confraternite Missionaire Baptiste d'Haiti (CMBH), Florida Baptists' partner convention in Haiti: Marc Edrouard Theodore of Eglise Baptiste Par la Foi K-Soleil in Gonaives, located in the Artibonite Association; and Alphonse Joseph of Eglise Baptiste Coupe-a-David in the North Association.
"It seems that the cholera actually started in the Artibonite Valley where the water flow decreases and becomes stagnant in the rice fields," Wilbanks said.
The Florida convention is working in partnership with CMBH churches to help prevent and curb the spread of the disease in the churches and their communities. Read More