Quick Links

Weekly Updates: Africa | Asia | Latin America

29 November 2010

Elections in the Time of Cholera

Here is a quick update on the cholera situation in Haiti. The best news by far is that very little precipitation has fallen on Haiti since Tomas passed Hispaniola. It was the rain from Tomas that allowed cholera to reach Port-au-Prince. The bad news is that the disease is still spreading and has added to the debacle of the national elections.

Additional good news is that cholera seems to be contained in Haiti. The Dominican Republic and the United States have both reported cases, but person to person transmission of the disease remains in Haiti, thus far. The Dominican Republic has re-closed the border with Haiti. This will have a negative economic impact, as there are a number of markets along the border that are vital to many Haitians household income.

It is very likely that the weather will continue to cooperate with containment efforts by international aid groups working in Haiti. There is a weak correlation between La Nina and dry weather for the December to February period in the northern Caribbean. This is normally the dry season anyway, so little precipitation would typically fall between December and April. Those two factors mean that there is very little risk of a nation wide heavy rain event for some time.

The big new problem is the failed elections. This was not caused solely by the cholera outbreak, but the disease certainly hasn't helped. Riots triggered by rumor and fact, have helped frighten people and destabilize the country. In a self fulfilling prophecy, the election debacle could result in poorer government services and national infrastructure, resulting in the further spread of the disease. The political crisis needs to be solved quickly in order for anyone to gain control over the cholera epidemic.

No comments:

Post a Comment