AMERICA/HAITI - General Crisis and Cholera Epidemic: Viatorian missionaries accompany people with faith and determination

Wednesday, 14 June 2023

Port au Prince (Agenzia Fides) - "Every day brings new suffering. Unfortunately, for years, when one speaks of Haiti, one thinks of a country in disaster: economic, ecological, political, demographic...", said Father Nestor Fils-Aimé, Provincial Superior of Canada of the Clerics of Saint Viator (CSV), told Fides. "Unfortunately, every time one talks about this country, even though it is rich in natural and human resources and with a beautiful history, crises, emergencies and violence are denounced". The missionary referred in particular to the recent events of this week in June, when the country was hit by landslides, floods and repeated earthquakes (see Fides, 12/6/2023) and is currently experiencing a renewed increase in cholera cases.
"The first days of June were difficult", the religious continued. "Heavy torrential rains caused the water to rise and caused flooding with consequent material damage and loss of life in the metropolitan region of Port-au-Prince, in the areas of Croix-des-Missions, Tabarre, etc.) as well as in the south of country, in the districts of Léogâne and Grand'Anse near Jérémie. According to conservative estimates, there could be around sixty dead, twenty missing and between 35 and 40,000 flooded houses... In addition, a magnitude 5.7 which hit Grand'Anse on June 6 caused the death of at least 4 people and more than forty are feared injured".
"It is a great challenge for us," emphasizes Father Fils-Aimé, "we always dream of improvement, but it is slow to come. However, we remain optimistic and continue to act with the same faith and determination to create spaces of light, of joy and hope".
The Order's institutions are not directly affected, although the formation house in Cazeau is very close to Croix-des-Missions. The missionaries run a school and look after a parish in Croix-des-Bouquets, a neighborhood near Croix-des-Missions where Father Jean-Yves Médidor (CSV) was kidnapped last March (see Fides, 14/3/2023 ). Fortunately, there was no considerable damage either in the parish of St-François d'Assise in Grand-Goâve, which the Viatorians administer about sixty kilometers south of the capital, not far from the town of Léogâne.
Unfortunately, Haitian health officials confirmed on Friday June 9 that an outbreak of cholera in the Caribbean nation has already killed several hundred people. According to published data, the epidemic that first hit Haiti in October 2010 (see Fides, 15/11/2010), killed 10,174 people and since October 2022 726 people have died, including 26 from 1 to 5 June this year. In the period from October 1st last year to June 5th, 2023 there were 45,248 suspected cases, 3007 confirmed cases, 41,557 hospitalizations. The average age of the hospitalized infected is 17 years. The current political crisis in Haiti has its roots in a coup d'etat in 2004 (see Fides, 10/2/2004). (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 14/6/2023)