Health workers fight to contain Haiti cholera outbreak

By Jacob Kushner

The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI—A spreading cholera outbreak in rural Haiti threatened to outpace aid groups as they stepped up efforts Saturday hoping to keep the disease from reaching the squalid camps of earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince.

Health officials said at least 208 people had died and 2,394 others were infected in an outbreak mostly centred in the Artibonite region north of the capital.

But the number of cases in towns near Port-au-Prince were rising, and officials worried the next target will be hundreds of thousands of Haitians left homeless by January’s devastating quake and now living in camps across the capital.

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Cholera epidemic spreads in rural Haiti; 150 dead

By JACOB KUSHNER

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ST. MARC, HAITI — A cholera epidemic was spreading in central Haiti on Friday as aid groups rushed doctors and supplies to fight the country’s deadliest health crisis since January’s earthquake. At least 150 people have died and more than 1,500 others are ill.

The first two cases of the disease outside the rural Artibonite region were confirmed in Arcahaie, a town that is closer to the quake-devastated capital, Port-au-Prince.

Officials are concerned the outbreak could reach the squalid tarp camps where hundreds of thousands of quake survivors live in the capital.

“It will be very, very dangerous,” said Claude Surena, president of the Haitian Medical Association. “Port-au-Prince already has more than 2.4 million people, and the way they are living is dangerous enough already.”

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Haiti opens 2 mango processing plants in northwest

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Haiti on Thursday launched two new mango processing factories that will help farmers export more of the juicy tropical fruit that is a $10 million-a-year business in the impoverished country.

Located in two rural towns in the mango-rich northwest, the plants aim to improve packaging and cleaning to decrease the number of mangoes bruised by poor handling and transport on rutted, sun-baked roads.

The two processing plants will employ 62 people to train mango farmers about cleaning and packaging and to better document the origin of their crops to meet standards in the United States, where most Haitian mangoes are sold.

Haiti grows dozens of different varieties that are indigenous to the country. The only type exported to the U.S. is the “Madame Francis,” which is juicy, sweet and a bit fibrous.

Last year, Haiti exported $10 million worth of mangoes, accounting for one-third of the country’s total agricultural export revenue, according to the U.S. Embassy.

With more processing plants, fruit industry leaders think they have the potential to blossom into a $90 million-a-year export business.

The new mango processing centers will increase profits for 9,500 farmers by as much as 20 percent, predicts CHF International, the U.S.-financed group that organized the project. -Jacob Kushner

At least 54 dead from disease outbreak in Haiti

By JACOB KUSHNER

The Associated Press

ST. MARC, Haiti — An outbreak of severe diarrhea in rural central Haiti has killed at least 54 people and sickened hundreds more who overwhelmed a crowded hospital Thursday seeking treatment.

Hundreds of patients lay on blankets in a parking lot outside St. Nicholas hospital in the port city of St. Marc with IVs in their arms for rehydration. As rain began to fall in the afternoon, nurses rushed to carry them inside.

Click HERE to read the full article as it appeared at Salon.