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Haiti: Election violence hampers our work

Violent protest associated with the presidential election continues in Haiti, even if it has dropped off the news agenda for the time being. The BBC has said that thousands of people have been taking to the streets in anger about the results, and about the way the elections were managed.

The unrest is having a significant impact on the work of Save the Children and other agencies that are helping communities recover from the devastation caused by the earthquake as well as conducting life-saving activities in response to the cholera outbreak. The outbreak is beginning to taper off, but almost 2,200 people dead from the disease since mid-October.

As an aid agency, we work in challenging environments around the world.  But we’re good to no one if we can’t keep our staff safe, so we’re monitoring the security situation and waiting for things to calm down.

Our work is continuing, but the instability is taking its toll. If we can’t move freely to access people who need us and our work, children and their families will suffer.

The unstable situation restricts our efforts to deliver life-saving treatment to children and families suffering from cholera, but also hinders families who need it most from being able to access help.

Cholera is a treatable disease, but only if treatment is received quickly – otherwise victims are at risk of dying from dehydration very fast. Anything that slows down people’s ability to seek treatment will have devastating consequences.

I hope there aren’t mothers caring for a child they suspect to have cholera, who are facing a horrendous dilemma: stay at home where it’s safe and try and treat them, or walk the journey with your child to a clinic and face threatening violence along the way.

The cholera epidemic coupled with the political instability and uncertainty has effectively sealed off the country. The last thing that Haitians need is for the international community to simply renounce any violence, turn its back and walk away.

As the anniversary of the earthquake fast approaches, it reminds us just how many challenges remain in helping Haiti recover. More than a million people remain homeless, and the cholera outbreak continues to spread.

Find out more about our work in Haiti

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