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Haiti doctors fear malaria and typhoid as rainy season arrives


Source : http://www.guardian.co.uk

With a million Haitians homeless and disease spreading, the earthquake-shattered island is threatened by other natural forces.

Aid agencies are warning of an imminent health crisis in Haiti, as the onset of the rainy season brings fears of outbreaks of waterborne diseases in Port-au-Prince's squalid refugee camps.

With up to a million Haitians thought to have lost their homes in the earthquake, and hundreds of thousands still living in 600 squatter settlements around the capital, aid officials warn that the arrival of rain could present them with a further medical crisis after hospitals were initially swamped with patients needing amputations or treatment for crushing injuries. Haiti's rains normally come in February and the prospect of bad weather has aid workers and homeless people scared. The hurricane season starts in July.

"If it rains, there will be a great deal of disease," said Dr Thierry Causse, a GP from the French Red Cross who is working at a field clinic near the Place St Pierre refugee camp in Pétionville, where rivers of urine flow through the square.

"We are afraid of a typhoid epidemic, of a malaria epidemic. We have a lot of doctors here, but if there is an epidemic there will be a big problem. There could be a lot of dead people if it is not treated quickly and properly."

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