Election Violence Halts Haiti Cholera Response

11 months after the devastating earthquake, cholera, homelessness and now violence hinder recovery.

As if Haiti needed more pain.

World Concern and nearly all other humanitarian relief organizations cannot respond to the rapidly expanding cholera epidemic.

For a second day, violent protests about the fraud-riddled election have taken over Port au Prince and have prevented World Concern staff from working to stop cholera’s spread, and rebuild the lives of Haiti’s homeless earthquake victims.

Since Tuesday night, people have been rioting in the streets of the capital city, and in other cities across the country. In many neighborhoods of Port au Prince, burning tires, makeshift barricades – and even toilets – block traffic.

Here are excerpts from an interview with Christon Domond, World Concern Haiti country director:

The chaos sparked by the election

“The office is closed. All businesses are closed. There is so much violence not only in Port au Prince but all over in Haiti. With the demonstrations that we have in all districts, we can expect cholera to spread quickly. In Jacmel, they have received a lot of cases of cholera. We could expect a large spread of cholera.”

“My staff can do nothing, because there is no possibility to go out. Those who try to go out, they cannot go. We need the leaders to talk to the population and get back into their homes.”

“Toilets have been moved out of camps and have been moved into the street as barricades. Thousands will be contaminated by cholera.”

What we can – and need to do (once it’s safe to go out)

“We need to mount an aggressive strategy to reach these people. We need people to go to their homes, to their churches, with this message.”

“We give them soap, water bottles, water treatment. Oral rehydration. Otherwise, we will have a lot of deaths. Our strategy is to reach local leaders, churches, and to mobilize the Christian community. They are going out to share the message. We can talk with them, walk with them.

“We can – we have to – make a difference. There is no other way. I like a challenge. Thank you for your support. Thank you for praying for Haiti and our staff.”

What we’ve accomplished so far

“My staff has done prevention activities with all projects. HIV and AIDS. They were able to come and be trained about cholera prevention. We have reached 5,000 people in Port au Prince.”

“We have equipped pastors and trained them how to reach their communities. In the Southeast office, they have printed t-shirts with a cholera message, and posters. But now there are demonstrations everywhere.”

Here’s how to help.