Pontiff Urges Help for Cholera Victims in Haiti

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is urging the international community to continue assisting the people of Haiti, who are now suffering from a cholera epidemic.

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After praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope reaffirmed his “nearness to the dear people of Haiti, who, because of last January’s terrible earthquake, are now suffering from a grave cholera epidemic.”

“I encourage everyone who is responding to this new emergency and, while I assure a special remembrance in my prayer, I call on the international community to generously assist these people,” he added.

The Vatican’s semi-official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported today that the number of cholera cases in Haiti could reach upward of 200,000, according to reports from the United Nations.

Currently, there are a reported 917 deaths from the disease, and some 14,600 have been hospitalized with cholera-like symptoms, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.

Cholera is an infection caused by a bacteria that is spread mainly in contaminated food and water. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. The disease causes some 100,000-130,000 deaths a year.

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