Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanon is in a race against time to contain a cholera outbreak in its most vulnerable communities.
Nearly 290 cholera cases and 11 deaths have been confirmed since October sixth. According to the World Health Organization, a rampaging outbreak began in Afghanistan in June and then spread to Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and now Lebanon.
“It (the cholera outbreak) is a natural result of crumbling infrastructure. [Many] parts of Syria don’t have clean water, and it’s spilling into Lebanon through these rural communities of refugees,” Pierre Houssney of Horizons International says.
Cholera, a contagious bacterial infection caused by contaminated water or food, often thrives in areas with limited access to clean water, sanitation, and health care. Although it’s completely preventable, cholera spreads quickly and can kill within hours by causing severe dehydration.
The people need clean water and sanitation access – usually provided by public utilities – to combat this outbreak and prevent new infections.
“Unfortunately, the people empowered to address it (the outbreak) have already made off with the money budgeted for the infrastructure that could have prevented this,” Houssney says.
With nowhere else to turn, people in need rely on nongovernment organizations for help. “It’s a little intimidating because [the outbreak is] such a huge problem,” Houssney says.
“It’s not something you can put a band-aid on real quick; a lot of infrastructure needs to be implemented to get clean water to millions of people.”
Pray for wisdom as Horizons International helps church partners address this crisis in the name of Jesus. “Pray that the Church would stand up and continue being a faithful witness in this Muslim region,” Houssney requests.
“I believe that a bigger harvest is coming, so pray that God would encourage the hearts of [believers] and they would rise and reach out to others.”
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Pixabay.