Fearing Cholera, Hatians refuse to harvest rice.

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Fearing Cholera, Hatians refuse to harvest rice.

Post by Alaskan Girl on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:49 pm

The cholera epidemic that sickened more than 150,000 people and killed several thousand more has tapered off inside Haiti’s hospitals. But the effects of it are still playing out in L’Artibonite, the rich agricultural region at the centre of the country known as Haiti’s “rice basket.”

Farmers and the labourers they rely on to harvest rice are refusing to go into the marsh-like paddies because they fear cholera will infect them.

This is causing ripples across the country, from markets in Port-au-Prince, where there is less food available for purchase, to families in Haiti’s northern regions who travel south for farm jobs during harvest but are afraid to risk wading into the fields.

In the Artibonite itself, nearly 90 per cent of respondents to a recent Haitian government survey said they have felt the effects of the link between water and cholera. Meat prices in local markets have tripled because people are afraid to eat fish from the river. Labourers willing to work in the fields are charging a premium, cutting into farmers’ already thin margins.

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Alaskan Girl

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