Chaos reigned north of Haiti’s capital Friday as hospitals overflowed with people rushing to get help from a fast-moving cholera break that has killed at least 138 people.
Terry Snow, Haiti director for the non-profit Youth With a Mission, saw people lined up outside hospitals and clinics, many in stretchers, waiting 24 hours or more to get care.
Snow said he tried to take one man with cholera to various clinics, only to end up at St. Nicolas hospital in the city of Saint Marc to learn that it was full. The man died soon thereafter in the back of his truck, he said.
“This is totally unprecedented,” said Snow, who has lived in Haiti for about 20 years. “We have never had an outbreak like this.”
Sandrellie Seraphin, who works for Partners in Health and the Clinton Foundation, visited the hospital Wednesday.
“It’s terrible,” she told CNN by phone, describing the crowds of people trying to get help. “There’s a great fear among the people” about the disease.
In addition to the at least 138 people who have died, 1,526 people have been sickened in the outbreak, said Imogen Wall, the U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman in Haiti.
This comes after recent heavy rains spurred the banks of the Artibonite River to overflow and flood the area. Dammed in 1956 to create Lac de Peligre, the Artibonite River is Haiti’s dominant drainage system, according to the U.S. Library of Congress. All the cholera cases have been reported in the Lower Artibonite region, north of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
“It’s very chaotic,” Snow said of the scene in the city of Saint Marc and more rural agricultural areas nearby. “People are trying to figure out what to do. People are lost.”
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