Wednesday, May 6, 2020

COVID could lead to social unrest and even famine in Haiti, global health experts warn

A child looks at the camera as Haitians who were deported from the United States line up as they arrive at a hotel where they will be quarantined as a measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, in Tabarre, Haiti, Thursday, April 23, 2020. Dieu Nalio Chery AP

By Jacqueline Charles

While transmission of the novel coronavirus is still in the early stages in Haiti, global health authorities are worried that the deadly pandemic could unleash civil unrest and an even deeper humanitarian crisis in the country, not to mention thousands of deaths.

“There is real danger of a large scale outbreak followed further by a humanitarian crisis in Haiti,” Dr. Carissa Etienne, the director of the Pan American Health Organization, said Tuesday. “There is the real risk that growing food insecurity will result in famine.”

And the lack of food could give rise to social unrest, she added.

Health experts in Haiti have been working with models that suggest the country could see a death toll of 20,000 or more, with 432,000 infected Haitians in need of hospitalization. This would require 9,000 hospital beds that the poverty-stricken country currently does not have.  Read more >>