Before activities were stopped due to violent demonstrations, Oxfam was providing clean water, sanitation services and hygiene education to 300,000 people living in slums in the city of Cap Haitien. Elodie Martel is leading Oxfam’s cholera response program in Cap Haitien in northern Haiti, and sent in this report on Tuesday, 16 November.“This is a really difficult situation here in Cap Haitien. We feel frustrated and powerless. We have the people, the supplies, and the expertise to go do our cholera prevention work. But we can’t do that because we can’t reach the people who need it, because the roads are blocked with the protests.
“Most of our staff couldn’t get to the office today. They’re at their homes, waiting out the protests. They keep calling me asking when they can do something. These are people who are from here, who live here every day, and they are danger of losing their friends and family to cholera. It’s a really awful feeling for them to know they can’t go out and do lifesaving work against this disease.”
“Cholera is really straightforward to prevent. It just takes clean water and hygiene education. But every minute counts because the disease can spread very quickly. Now for the past day and a half we haven’t been able to reach people with clean water. They don’t know how to treat themselves at home for diarrhea. And they can’t get to the hospital with all the demonstrations blocking the way. We are very worried that cholera in Cap Haitien will get much worse because of the delay in bringing people the aid they need.”