CWS applauds Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) and the 158 Members of Congress who last week wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for “immediate and unreserved” leadership on Haiti’s cholera crisis.
This historic show of bipartisan collaboration and consensus comes at a critical time for Haiti. More than 10,000 Haitians have died and at least 800,000 more have succumbed to cholera; experts suggest that many more could be infected. Already this year, the incidence of cholera increased in from January – March, in comparison with the same months in 2015. Cholera is easily preventable but has serious, often deadly consequences if left unaddressed. Inexistent in that country for over a century, Haiti’s is now the world’s worst cholera outbreak in recent times. Children have lost their parents, parents have lost their children; dozens have lost friends and relatives. Cholera places additional burdens on women, who often must bear alone the financial and emotional cost of caring for – and often burying – their loved ones, as well as taking care of those who remain ill. And cholera has exacerbated Haiti’s other problems: although incessant rains are causing floods now, a three year long drought has reduced access to safe, clean water for many. The 2016 hurricane season has also now started and Haitians face the possibility of storms, hurricanes and environmental degradation.
CWS will continue to support Haitians as they valiantly face serious challenges in the immediate months ahead. We believe that as a fundamental step to facing them, the basic human right to safe, clean water must be guaranteed. In addition, treatment for cholera victims should be urgently prioritized, and steps taken to finally eliminate cholera from Haiti, once and for all. For all this to happen, the United Nations must fully address their moral and legal obligations to those who have been affected by cholera. CWS thanks the 158 Members of Congress who, through their own moral courage, have urged the United States Government to show the inspired leadership and political will needed to make these things happen.