Just when the world was turning its attention away from the sorrow in the impoverished country of Haiti, cholera has stricken over 800 dead. When natural disaster hits a country wracked with poverty, the only way to recover is through a global response. When a nation is at risk, the world is at risk.
Cholera is spread through tainted water and unsanitary living conditions. When clean water is rare, as it is in the slums and tent cities of Haiti, diseases like cholera are almost always sure to follow a natural disaster. The country was desperately climbing up from the devastating earthquake when it was hit by a hurricane. Unlike developed nations who endure these disasters, a country with so much poverty goes from vulnerable to critical. Life and death are a regular and certain occurrence as people struggle to find food, clean water and safe shelter. From the very beginning, the global response to the earthquake was admirable, but these relief organizations are taxed by one problem after another. Now it’s cholera.
Haiti has a long history of corruption, and as a result the infrastructure was not sound enough to withstand multiple disasters. Global response to the corruption, especially the United States, was certainly a move in the right direction, but this level of poverty make it near impossible to avoid terrible diseases like cholera. Cholera causes watery diarrhea, vomiting and leg cramps. Victims dehydrate very quickly and can die within hours of the symptoms. Officials warn that the entire nation is at risk without more money and people to manage the problem. One could almost call cholera Haiti’s third natural disaster in a year.
Many who are keeping up with the conditions in Haiti have probably already donated to the country’s recovery. However, until the country can become more stable with its infrastructure and better manage its massive poverty, the global response cannot wane. Volunteers are needed as well as money. As a compassionate nation, the United States and it’s allies seem to be the go-to saviors for natural disaster and relief from the effects of poverty. Honestly, we should be. As a nation, we are blessed. We must address our own issues, but we have the resources to help others, as well. If the mindset is to protect the American way of life, as the last election cycle suggests, it’s necessary to think globally. A destabilized world due to outbreaks of cholera and other fast spreading diseases and the problems that come with them is something that could easily come home to roost if the problems were simply ignored.