Haiti: Terrible blows


Olga Bemort, a member of the Haitian Women Solidarity Movement (SOFA), thanked Cuban medical staff for the unconditional help that has been provided after the earthquake in early 2010.

She made the statement at a Regional Workshop on People's Education and Social Movements, which was held on October 26-30.

The event was organized by the Latin American Center for Adult Education (CEAAL), which had been founded in 1982 and is today the most important regional NGO in the field of education.

"Although similar earthquakes have hit other countries, the one that affected us last January 12 has had a terrible impact on our bodies and souls, and revealed the colonial situation in the country," she stressed.

"There are no basic social services available and no infrastructure in place," she indicated.

"We do not know yet how many people got killed," she commented. "And we are now being hit by a cholera epidemic," she emphasized.

Press reports recently indicated that a total of 330 people have died of cholera and over 4,760 have contracted it in the last few weeks. Around 10 people pass away and 50 to 60 new cases are reported on a daily basis.

A representative of the World Health Organization recalled that no cholera cases had been reported in Haiti in the last 100 years. "This epidemic is likely to spread and prevail for long," he anticipated.

The disease causes diarrhea, vomit and fever, but the symptoms usually appear only 48 hours before patients die.

"While international aid by rich nations has been like a slap in the face, that of other countries has been a genuine expression of people-to-people cooperation," Bemort remarked.

William Thelesmond highlighted the important role played by Cuba and Venezuela. "They have provided us not only with material, but also with human resources," he noted.

Germonic Molin, a representative of the Haitian Platform for Alternative Development (PAPDA), thanked Dominican and Puerto Rican organizations for their immediate help.

CEAAL seeks to bridge educational gaps, meet population needs, and give top priority to literacy efforts and environmental and human-rights education.

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