Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) representatives in Haiti are distributing bleach tablets that can slow the spread of cholera, a dangerous water-borne disease that, as of February 2013, has taken more than 8,000 lives and sickened more than 600,000 people since October, 2010.
The ZF team began working in Haiti in 2008 and has made providing food and clean water to Haitians its top priority following the earthquake. Distribution of clean water, water filters and bleach tablets represent a multi-faceted approach to preventing the further spread of water-borne illness.
Individuals use the convenient bleach tablets to purify drinking water and water used for washing fruits and vegetables. The bleach kills the bacterium that causes cholera and the contaminated water becomes safe for use.
Cholera causes severe, sometimes lethal diarrhea and dehydration. An impoverished country, Haiti was already devastated by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and displaced more than 1 million in January, 2010. The epidemic of cholera that struck ten months after the quake compounded the country’s suffering, racing through a population whose access to basic sanitation and medical care had been all but destroyed.
Cholera is relatively easy to treat with intravenous fluids and oral rehydration, but young children, the elderly and anyone with a weakened immune system can die within a matter of hours from cholera if not treated promptly. Those who do not become seriously ill may inadvertently spread the disease if they do not have access to sanitary facilities.
Haiti had no history of cholera before the earthquake, so the population had no immunity to the disease when it was accidentally introduced through untreated sewage coming from a camp of disaster aid workers.
Zakat Foundation of America launched a cholera prevention campaign to provide chlorine tablets to families to purify their drinking. Please donate now to provide clean water to hundreds of families today.