Tent cities to bear brunt of Tropical Storm Tomas, team expects cholera to worsen

By November 5, 2010

Haiti (MNN) — The tent cities of Haiti were a mass of
confusion as people tried to evacuate the area before tropical storm Tomas arrived.

For many of the 1.3 million who are taking refuge in the
flimsy tent cities following the January quake, there's nowhere to go. The storm is expected to unleash a
combination of torrential rains and storm surge, which will complicate quake
relief and worsen the cholera epidemic. 

Dr. Marlene Adrien, Food for the
Health Promoter in Haiti, says,
"We may have floods, we may have land sliding. These are the kinds of situations that will make things more
complicated, because the situations of the population is very difficult. People don't have the resources to store
water and food."

It's an environmental situation that really
can't be predicted. However, aid groups have tried to
prepare people for the worst. So far,
the cholera epidemic has claimed 442 lives, with a total of 6,742 cases.

Food for the Hungry was one of the first groups aware of the
disease and immediately responded by 
training all staff in cholera prevention and treatment. "We had a presentation about cholera, how it is presented, how it is
transmitted, how we can take care of people who are sick. We also provided direction on how to prepare
critical water oral rehydration." 

From there, Food for the Hungry took the news to the churches "to provide
people with the information that is being shared about how to prevent cholera
and how to refer people if they get sick."

Staff is also training mothers in communities to bring this
information to neighbors and relatives to prevent additional cases and deaths.
FH is also looking into receiving and stocking oral rehydration salts to help
infected patients.

In preparation for Tomas, FH sent teams out into the field with a refresher course on cholera
prevention. They've been preparing
people in the rural areas to reduce
unnecessary exposure.    

FH Haiti Director Walter Turnbull says there's a long road ahead of the coming weekend.
"Pray for strength. Pray for wisdom in giving very clear, very simple,
understandable directions."

In spite of the chaos surrounding the crisis
teams, Turnbull says they have never forgotten their purpose. Food for the Hungry embraces an
intensely personal and biblical response to God's call to end physical and
spiritual hunger. That is revealed by having "devoted
Christians on staff who are able to clearly present the Message in all that we

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