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In Haiti, a Fear of the Water Cholera Outbreak in Haiti Raises New Fears

A tropical storm and a cholera outbreak bring new challenges to Haiti.


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Crystal Wells is visiting Haiti as part of a team with International Medical Corps in response to hurricane Tomas and the Cholera outbreak.

Thelervilts used to own a modest, but comfortable house by the sea. Then the 7.0-earthquake hit on January 12, rendering his house to a skeleton of concrete and rebar. He picked up the pieces, building a new shop from scratch and repairing his home with tarps and wood.

Now, nine months later, his broken home was destroyed once again—this time by floods following Hurricane Tomas, which battered the island on November 5 and 6. Mud now covers Thelervilts’s floors and only jagged stepping stones dot the way to his house through murky waters.

“I tried to protect my house,” he said, pointing at some mud-caked sandbags in the corner. “But the waters washed the sandbags away.”

I met Thelervilts just one day after nearly half of Leogane was deluged by water. The epicenter of the January earthquake, Leogane was also the hardest hit area by Hurricane Tomas. The local hospital had to be evacuated and 2,000 people were moved to higher ground. In Cada, a small town in Leogane where Thelervilts lives with his wife and children, flood waters still had not receded when International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team visited on Saturday. Residents waded through knee-deep waters and hung their belongings out to dry on bushes.

“I have it lucky,” says Thelervilts. “Many of my neighbors step into water when they get out of bed.”

Following Hurricane Tomas, International Medical Corps sent assessment teams staffed with medical, nutrition, and water and sanitation experts to Cada and other badly hit areas in Leogane, Port-au-Prince, Nippes, and Petit Goave. The teams distributed hygiene kits and blankets and found that potable water and sanitation facilities are desperately needed in flooded areas to avoid outbreaks of waterborne illness, like cholera.

The water is Thelervilts’s number one concern. “I wish someone could block the flow,” he said. “I would, but I do not have the resources to do so.”

With a cholera outbreak raging in the north, Thelervilts has reason to be concerned. Following Tomas, cases of cholera started to spike in Artibonite, the region in north-central Haiti where the cholera outbreak began. Haitians seeking treatment poured into Robateau Hospital in Gonaives, while another outbreak is now reported in the northwest, near Port-de-Paix. While it is hard to link the recent increase in cases directly to Hurricane Tomas, the flooding and physical damage following the storm complicates the response. Many areas are more difficult to access and flooding has likely contaminated food and water sources.

International Medical Corps continues to respond to new outbreaks of cholera in Haiti, with a Cholera Response Team setting up a new Cholera Treatment Center to support Robateau Hospital and another deploying to the outbreak in the northwest. Following Tomas, International Medical Corps’ Cholera Response Teams also ferried medicines and supplies across a river to reach cholera patients.

For Thelervilts down in Leogane, he fears the water will spread disease. “Look at that baby,” he says, motioning to a small child sitting on an island of mud. “I think everyone here can get very sick from the water.”

Thelervilts assures me he and his family only drink the bottled water he sells in his shop. But not everyone has the resources to only drink bottled water and almost no one in Cada, or much of Leogane and other flooded areas, can bathe, cook, or clean without using their usual water sources, which may now be contaminated.

As if to confirm his worry, a man wades up to a well just off of Thelervilts’s home and dips his bucket into the brown water. When asked what he plans to do with the water, his answer: “Bathing.”

You can support International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response to Hurricane Tomas and cholera by visiting internationalmedicalcorps.org or texting HAITI to 85944.

Articles
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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Culture
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

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For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

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In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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